Cllr Sonia Winifred is the Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, a councillor in Knight’s Hill ward, and a member of the Windrush generation. Cllr Winifred sent the below letter to residents regarding how Lambeth Council is supporting the Windrush generation.
Supporting the Windrush generation
I am writing to you today to encourage you to apply for the Windrush Compensation Scheme. I am also asking you to encourage and support friends or neighbours of people like myself who came to this country as part of that generation to apply, so that they can receive some recompense for the loss and hurt they have endured over the years.
As a member of the Windrush generation, and an elected representative of many other descendants and ancestors of Windrush families, I know of the trauma following that
arduous journey. I also know of the huge distrust and fear of the authorities in our community given the horrific treatment at the hands of this government’s hostile environment policy. That is why I want to let you know that here at Lambeth Council, we are on your side.
Lambeth is where the majority of the Windrush generation found their home and their sense of belonging. This is where we settled, made our way in Britain and developed a true sense of community, identity and culture. Here in Lambeth we spearheaded the Windrush campaign movement and we have been home to Windrush celebration events for decades.
I will continue to fight for the Windrush memorial to be placed in Windrush Square – its rightful home – so as to demonstrate the respect we owe those who came to this country, who worked to improve our public services and contributed to our wider society.
The Compensation Scheme has been established following the cases of many people, in Lambeth and across the country, who were faced with problems over the right to work, access to benefits and services they were entitled to, and even forced deportation as a result of the government’s failure to properly support people who were legally entitled to be in the UK but did not have proper documentation.
How to apply to the Windrush Compensation Scheme
You can apply via the government’s website using this link: gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme
Or by picking up a form from the Reception at Lambeth Town Hall, 1 Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW.
The scope of the Windrush Compensation Scheme is not limited to people who originally came to the UK from the Caribbean Commonwealth. Almost everyone originally from a Commonwealth country who arrived before 1 January 1973 is included.
If you have a right of abode or settled status (or are now a British citizen) and arrived to live in the UK before 31 December 1988 you will also be eligible to apply regardless of your nationality when you arrived – even if you are not a Commonwealth citizen.
The Scheme is also open to many others including children and grandchildren of Commonwealth citizens in certain circumstances; the estates of those who are now deceased but who would have otherwise been eligible to claim compensation; and close family members of eligible claimants where there has been a significant impact on their life or where there is evidence of certain direct financial costs.
Support and advice for your application
There is support available in Lambeth if you want to apply to the Compensation Scheme.
The Black Cultural Archives hold free legal surgeries led by specialist immigration lawyers every Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm and Saturday from 10am to 12pm until Saturday 29 February. You can find more information or book a session by visiting the Black Cultural Archives:
1 Windrush Square, London, Brixton SW2 1EF
T: 020 3757 8500
These sessions are for anyone who needs support with their citizenship applications or assistance with accessing the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
We are aware that not all residents will be confident to use the online application process so we have made hard copy application forms available at the Town Hall Reception. Please pick up a copy!
We will keep fighting for justice for the Windrush generation, a community which continues to show immense strength of character and perseverance. I know that the wider Lambeth community supports you. The spirit within the community is evidence that here in Lambeth we are united in our support for the Windrush generation.
Cllr Sonia Winifred