In between Olympic related madness yesterday, I went to the Barnet Refugee Service AGM at the Sangam Centre in Burnt Oak. Anne Hutton, Alison Moore and Barry Rawlings were there with me, as well as Sury Khatri and Mayor Brian Schama representing the Conservatives.
They do an excellent job thanks to a highly dedicated staff. ut like the rest of the charitable and public sector, cuts are seriously going to affect them. Their partners are running out of money and they are losing revenue streams. I hope people will visit their website and try to contribute to them.
Helping refugees is not the most fashionable thing to do these days, as migrants are targeted by the press, and any and all who come here are portrayed as scroungers. Well refugees really are people who need help and support. Help on a broad range of subjects, for whom BRS provide a huge number of services. And for others who are not refugees, or migrated some time ago they provide an important link and focal point in peoples lives, as a service which has been trusted and delivered for many years.
Mayor Schama made the point that it's education education education which is the key to success for migrants, and he is an example of that. I agree, and it was good to see how big a role ESOL is at BRS. Speaking English is a huge economic benefit, and people will never be able to access services properly if there is a language barrier.