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Crowdfunders help refugee family

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By Tom Hanley
Dumfries and West
Crowdfunders help refugee family

A REFUGEE family in Dumfries facing deportation were almost thrown out onto the street before an incredible reaction to a crowdfunding appeal.

Mark Frankland, of the town’s FirstBase Agency, initiated the fundraising for the family and said: “The page went live just after 2 pm and we hit our target of £2400 by seven in the evening.
“The amazing generosity shown by everyone who made donations shows how many people fundamentally disagree with the rather brutal way the Home Office is treating immigrants.”
After coming to the UK on a work visa seven years ago, mother Florence, 19-year-old Abigail and 12-year-old Thomas, whose names have been changed for anonymity, were told earlier this month that they would have to return to Nigeria.
Florence has since applied for ‘leave to remain’, which would see the family free to stay, with no restrictions on education or employment.
However, during the lengthy process, applicants are ineligible for benefits and are not allowed to do any paid work, leaving them unable to pay rent, or put food on the table.
Mr Frankland said: “We are beginning to see more and more individuals and families who find themselves in the awful situation of not being eligible for any State support, whilst not being allowed to work.  The voluntary sector faces a huge task in finding a way to keep these people fed and sheltered whilst the system grinds at a snail’s pace.”
And he pointed out that since arriving in the country, Florence has provided care for old people, paid tax and never broken any laws or received any benefits.
Yet now, the family face an agonising wait and the children face the prospect of returning to a dangerous country they barely remember, despite Abigail training to be a midwife at university, and Thomas still in full-time education.
Speaking about the generosity of the people within the region, Mark said: “Some of the families we have supported have told us they have come up from England because they have heard Scotland in general, and Dumfries in Galloway in particular, are very welcoming.
“I think this is a huge compliment to the warmth of spirit our community shows.”

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