A recent meeting between the Refugee Buddy Project and Hastings Borough Council was an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues facing people seeking refuge in Hastings: this included a rumour that there was to be a new accommodation site opened in St Leonards. Key members of the council attending the meeting included Cllr Kim Forward (Leader of the Council), Cllr Andrew Batsford (Councillor for Housing) and Andrew Palmer (Assistant Director Housing and Built Environment).

Members of the Refugee Buddy Project were delighted to hear that, as far as the Council is aware, the Home Office is not planning to open a new accommodation centre in Hastings. Along with many other migrant and refugee organisations, they consider the use of the in-community housing currently used in Hastings and St Leonards to be best practice. 

“In-community accommodation, whilst not without its problems, is a far more humane approach to housing people seeking refuge in our community than single accommodation sites,” says Rossana Leal. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Council to provide a coordinated approach to support and welcome everyone seeking refuge in our community.” 

The Refugee Buddy Project is currently focussing on community welcome and support for those seeking asylum, along with five other campaign areas: safe passage; education; vaccines for all; the Fair Immigration Reform Movement; and an end to deportations. More information about these campaigns, as well as how to get involved, can be found on their social media channels and website. Although the community café currently remains closed due to coronavirus, all support from the general public is welcome, as maintaining a connection is key to the project. 

“The pandemic has been a difficult time,” says Alex Kempton, Operations and Campaigns Manager. “We must not forget those communities that have little or no access to essentials such as food, clothing and phone credit, which is vital to ensuring families stay connected at this time. We are working to ensure such necessities are available to people seeking refuge in our community.” 

If you would like to help in this vital work, you can find more information and a donation button on therefugeebuddyproject.org/donate-now

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