Trevor Blackman talks to Olivia Devereux-Evans about how Edmonton Community Partnership is helping local EU citizens navigate Brexit
An Edmonton charity is working to tackle community division by helping eastern Europeans apply for ‘settled status’.
Under the agreed terms of Brexit, EU citizens currently living in the UK have until 30th June to apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status which allows them to remain living here.
Edmonton Community Partnership (ECP) is a charity supporting families from schools across the area. It has so far engaged with more than 2,000 eastern European families to offer free advice and support on applying for settled status.
This work is aided by the charity Settled and by a grant awarded by the Home Office. Trevor Blackman is the partnership manager for ECP and told the Dispatch: “We are helping anyone. We do not want anyone left behind.
“One of the biggest problems are these fraudulent lawyers who were charging people to do their settled status [application] and then not giving them the right log in details so they can check it.
“They were taking between five and 20 thousand pounds to do a service which is absolutely free.”
Just before Christmas, team members were doing in-school information meetings for families. But during lockdown, they have been doing phone calls and online events. Settled is also running Facebook online events giving out information.
The project initially began last summer when the partnership was working with Bulgarian families. Trevor said the charity was helping them as they had often lost their jobs or were struggling with food insecurity. The team work together to ensure the documents and information they need are simplified and translated.
Enfield Council has also been in conversation with Trevor and his team about hosting some sessions. Trevor said: “Our key worker Nishan has been translating things. He is also part of a European community network and they have been making sure that everything is translated.
“We are all working together in our own ways to make sure this works, not just for Bulgaria and Romania but for the whole European community.”
The team has worked to build partnerships with numerous charities and organisations. This includes Bovie, a London-based Bulgarian news agency. They have also been helping to translate documents for the group.
Trevor added: “No one should be left behind. If we work together then we can start to make a difference.”