Refugees and asylum seekers in Lambeth – the people for whom there “isn’t a safety net to fall through”

The South London Refugee Association has been helping refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants since the early 1990s. Over the last seven months I’ve spent time at their Balham drop in centre and Streatham HQ, meeting their clients and helping to produce My Life in South London for Refugee Week in the process. I talked … Continue reading Refugees and asylum seekers in Lambeth – the people for whom there “isn’t a safety net to fall through”

Austerity, homelessness and the loss of empathy: An interview with Ace of Clubs’ Sarah Miles

Sarah Miles has been Centre Manager at Ace of Clubs day centre in Clapham for the last six years, but has worked there for more than 16. The centre provides lunch, showers, clean clothes, advice, education and much else besides to homeless and vulnerable people in south London. I’ve been spending time there over the … Continue reading Austerity, homelessness and the loss of empathy: An interview with Ace of Clubs’ Sarah Miles

A day in the death of Lambeth County Court: How austerity is eroding access to justice

In September 2017 Lambeth County Court will close its doors forever. It is one of 86 courts and tribunals across England and Wales – 10 in London alone – that the Ministry of Justice is shutting as part of the Government’s programme of austerity. I wanted to understand what Lambeth was losing, so I spent … Continue reading A day in the death of Lambeth County Court: How austerity is eroding access to justice

My Life in South London – an experiment in collaborative storytelling

This week is Refugee Week. Over the last few months, I’ve been working with South London Refugee Association to produce a photography project with their clients – which we launched yesterday. While the project itself is not about austerity, it enabled me to explore ethical issues that have been troubling me since I first embarked … Continue reading My Life in South London – an experiment in collaborative storytelling

Homelessness and the housing crisis in Lambeth

People in Lambeth, and in boroughs across the capital, are being made homeless through a combination of changes to the benefits system, delays caused by staff shortages and a housing loophole which means that people judged to have made themselves “intentionally homeless” are no longer the responsibility of the overstretched local authority…. There are currently … Continue reading Homelessness and the housing crisis in Lambeth

Rue’s story: Jobseeker’s Allowance and a bureaucratic black hole

Jobseeker’s Allowance is supposed to help people on low incomes survive gaps in their employment as they seek new work. One construction worker explains how a glitch in the benefits system left him unable to work, unable to claim JSA and unable to attend his own mother’s funeral… Rue was born on the Portuguese island … Continue reading Rue’s story: Jobseeker’s Allowance and a bureaucratic black hole

P’s story: Battling the Department for Work and Pensions

A cancer survivor shares his experience of the benefits system and reveals how the Department for Work and Pensions’ medical assessors have repeatedly judged him fit for work – contradicting evidence from his GP and hospital doctors, and contravening a ruling by an independent tribunal… I was introduced to “P” by Nathan at Brixton Advice … Continue reading P’s story: Battling the Department for Work and Pensions