Around 40% of the people we help are NRPFs. This is a UK status that means ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ – basically, no benefits, no housing. But with no legal right to work – being forced instead to rely on the generosity of strangers, or live on the street.

Often this is a temporary situation while an asylum seeker waits for a response from the Home Office. There’s a lot of waiting, lots of paperwork, conflicting advice, long waits on helplines, slow queues at government offices.

In the meantime, how do you live? How do you feed your children with no money to buy food? How do you pay the phone bill to make the calls to be on hold with the Home Office for hours? Even the most simple, straightforward applications take three weeks, with others waiting much longer to access their £37.75 per week asylum support.

Sometimes people are in this situation because they have not been granted Leave to Remain, but have no financial means to leave the country – and nowhere to go if they did. This is a policy devised with the intention to create a ‘hostile environment’, which the government believes will deter people from coming to the UK. They are gambling with vulnerable human lives, closing the last door on people with nowhere else to turn. We currently have 20 families and individuals on our books as NRPFs, and we’ve successfully challenged 5 of the cases.

The Colchester community is wonderful when we appeal for help on behalf of our clients – the offers of clothing, cribs, appliances and all kinds of things come flooding in each time we reach out, and this is one of the ways we can all help NRPFs. If we’re able to, due to our funding, we also help financially – so that they can get on their feet, buy food, travel to a doctor and so on. This is how we helped Wuerguli, a Uyghur asylum seeker from China where Muslims are being persecuted, and her 4 children.

One of our plans for the future is to ring-fence a fund specifically for these situations, so that we can provide immediate financial assistance. We’re also hoping to make it a sustainable scheme, so that once our NRPFs have some financial means, they can pay back what they borrowed so we can help the next person in need.

Please click here if you’d like to donate to our NRPF fund – we are incredibly grateful for everything we receive!