Hotel Residents’ Support Networking in Hayes, WDrayton, Heathrow
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – the situation on 9th Nov 2020
If you are getting this by email or have a printed out copy, please check for the latest FAQ on www.reap.org.uk (password ‘hotel’)
Questions covered in answers below:…
- How many people are being accommodated in this area (Hayes, West Drayton, Heathrow)?
- Who decided this?
- Where are they?
- Are they men, women or families?
- What languages / ethnicities:
- What do they get at the hotel? Food? Toiletries? Period and maternity goods? Transport?
- What if someone tells us a problem or has a concerns or complaints about hotels?
- How can I get in touch with other local and VCS organisations in this network?
- TBC What organisations are involved in the full network?
- What organisations are involved in the Goods and Donations group?
- Can I get some basic training on working with asylum seekers and refugees?
- What if someone wants to make a cash donations /(or appeals for cash to support this work?
Goods and Donations (food, clothes, etc.)
- Who else can help / is giving goods and donations? Treats? Clothes? Volunteers?
- What about other organisations to do with goods and donations? (eg. to ask for specific items)
- How can I tell residents about the support and services my organisation can give?
- Can I take things directly to the hotels?
- What about Toys and play equipment, play activities?:
- What is needed? What is urgently needed
- How can we do an appeal for goods and donations?
Wellbeing, activities, orientation + ESOL /opportunities to learning English
- New section being developed – please send info about what you can offer, and questions.
Questions that still need answers
- Please send questions
_______ * _______
How many people are being accommodated in this area (Hayes, West Drayton, Heathrow)?
Approx 600, of about 6,000 across London. Usually only a relatively few people are accommodated in London for a few days or weeks, because they are quickly dispersed to accommodation in other parts of the UK, but ‘dispersal’ has stopped because of Covid.
Who decided this? The Government, ie the Home Office. Empty hotels and student accommodation like Best Western and Crowne Plaza run by hotel companies (like Stay Belvedere) have a contract with a commercial company called Clearsprings/Ready Homes acting on behalf of the Home Office.
- A separate organisation called Migrant Help manages the individual requests from asylum seekers for help with accommodation and subsistence.
- London Borough of Hillingdon is not involved in the Home Office arrangements or managing the accommodation , but does have duties to check on safety and hygiene, safeguarding, etc.
- This is NOT the same as accommodation used for Heathrow passengers with Covid symptoms, or accommodation provided by LBHillingdon for people who were street homeless when the pandemic lockdowns started.
Where are they? Crowne Plaza West Drayton (on the West Drayton by pass, near the M4 Jct4 roundabout)(c.500 people) and Airlink Hayes, Pump Lane (65 people) (A couple of other hotels were used for a short time, but are not being used for asylum seekers any more.)
Are they men, women or families?
About a third women, two-thirds men.
There are a few families of parents and children, and also women with babies including newborns.
Single men are more likely to be moved on fairly quickly to other accommodation outside London, eg. in Wales. Families are a priority to rehouse but several families have been in these hotels for months.
What languages / ethnicities: not yet known in detail but it seems they are mostly from:
Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Kurdish Iraqis, Afghans, Also smaller numbers from Ethiopia, Eritrea. A few from Nigeria, Russia, Albania
Languages, many Arabic speakers but different nationalities so with different variations of Arabic.
What do they get at the hotel?
- Food Full board = should provide all the food and drinks they need, including baby milk and baby food, can ask for special food / extra food. Hotels have been asked to review menus, variety, make sure people have enough. Cynthia / Ready Homes have requested groups not to provide food – because of hygiene in hotel, hotel should provide all the food they need, extras, food for pregnant women, baby food etc., they can request and if any problem contact Migrant Help Infoline 24 hours 01304 203977.
- Toiletries and period products and maternity needs should all be provided by Hotels including tampons/sanitary towels. Also nappies, baby changing goods and needs should all be provided.
- Transport for medical care and health related appointments is provided.
- Phones residents should be able to use phones and laptops at the hotels to contact organisations.
What if someone tells us a problem or has a concerns or complaints about hotels? eg. about food, rooms, feeling safe: If any resident contacts you with a complaint or request about the hotel, eg. food or baby equipment, they can ask for more food, etc. directly from the hotel, or if they have/can’t, they should ring Migrant Help Helpline 01304 203977. (24 hours.) It is Migrant Help’s job to sort out queries or problems at the hotels.
- If they want you to ring Migrant Help for them you need their permission and their NASS reference number.
How can I get in touch with other local and VCS organisations in this network?
- Contact the organisation and have a conversation about what they can realistically do before you send the person there.
- Information about organisations and what they can offer is going on the ‘Elist’ on the www.reap.org.uk website. Click the link to ‘hotel support networking’, (password ‘hotel’) and you can click and download a current list of organisations and details, and several fliers and links about specific services. Send Sarah@reap.org.uk any extra info, news, offers of changes to add to the Elist.
- Contact Sarah@reap.org.uk to get all messages and zoom invitations from the Full network or for special topics eg. Women, eg. Goods and Donations by email, if you can’t join the Googlegroup
How can I tell residents about the support and services my organisation can give? Hotels can put up information in the lobby telling people where to contact / come for goods and donations, but there are large numbers so be aware you might get a lot of contacts.
What organisations are involved in the full network?
|Afghan Women’s Support Group (Hillingdon)|
|Bell Farm Christian Centre|
|Bloody Good Period|
|Brunel Vols Programme and Opportunities|
|Citizens Advice, Hillingdon|
|CNWLondon (Mental Health Trust)|
|Happy Baby Community|
|Horn of Africa Youth Association (HAYA) – Carers|
|Hayes Town Partnership|
|Hillingdon 4 All|
|Hillingdon CCG (NHS)|
|Hillingdon Interfaith Network|
|Hillingdon Law Centre|
|Hillingdon Refugee Support Group (CYP)|
|Hillingdon Salvation Army|
|Hillingdon Women’s Centre|
|Hounslow Refugees Welcome|
|John McDonnell MP|
|MIND Hillingdon Mental Health and Wellbeing|
|North Hyde GP / PCN|
|Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership (REAP|
|St Anslem’s, Hayes|
|St Marys, Hayes|
|Stay Belvedere Hotels|
|West Drayton Library|
|West London Welcome (H&F)|
|West London Young Refugees Network|
|Yiewsley & WDrayton Food Bank|
|Several other organisations are in contact.|
What organisations are involved in the Goods and Donations group?
Organisation name and first name of main contact (see Elist or use Google)
Bell Farm Christian Centre Stuart and Diane
Care4Calais Clare, Lauren
Hayes town Partnership David
Hillingdon Salvation Army Janet, Jo
Hayes Salvation Army Rev.d Parry (Sylvia has moved)
Hillingdon Women’s Centre Vicky
Hillsong Church Ralph
Migrant Help Varsha, Community Liaison
Office of John McDonnell MP Helen
Ready Homes / Clearsprings Cynthia, Operational Team Leader
West London Welcome Naheed / Nicky
Hounslow Refugee Welcome Rachel
Happy Baby Community Joanne
Also involved or attending
Horn of African Youth Association
Hillingdon for All Clare
Bloody Good Period
Brunel Volunteering / SU Wendy
Can I get some information or basic training on working with asylum seekers and refugees? Yes, email email@example.com
What if someone wants to make a cash donations /(or appeals for cash to support this work?
- Cash cannot be passed to individual asylum seekers. Please support the organisations that can support them in ways that will not risk breaking their agreement with the National Asylum Support Service/Home Office.
- Several organisations have donation system set up on their websites. Eg. Hillingdon Women’s Centre, Bell Farm, Salvation Army. Others you can donate to directly by cash, CAF, Just Giving or BACs directly to bank account.
- Bell Farm can separate out any cash donations they receive for use to support hotel residents only and use them only for this, as long as the donor uses a reference or shows in some way that their donation is just for supporting the hotel residents.
- Care4Calais can create a fund-raiser specific to raising funds to support people in each hotel (Crown Plaze and Airlink in LBHillingdon). Also can handle donations on behalf of a joint appeal if asked – which has the extra benefit of getting back 20% extra by Giftaid.
- REAP welcomes donations to support staff time facilitating this network. It is helpful to us to receive donations or contributions directly to REAP Sort 20 38 83 A/c 90846074. Please use the reference ‘hotels’ if you want your donation to be used specifically for this work.
FAQs about Goods and Donations (food, clothes, etc.)
Who else can help / is giving goods and donations?
- Treats Bell Farm gives treats, snacks, for wellbeing, resilience, welcome. Complement hotel meals. Bell Farm now gives out prepacked food parcels, no longer as part of regular Y&Wd Food Bank
- Clothes Care4Calais and Salvation Army also have bulk purchasing deals for main clothes people need eg. underwear, coats.
- Volunteers Brunel volunteers – send Wendy ‘Opportunities for volunteering’ she can advertise to Brunel students and staff; then there is a process they follow.
Cash/Oyster? – no, they may be in breach of their NASS support agreement. Please check carefully.
What about other organisations to do with goods and donations? (eg. to ask for specific items)
- See the list of others in this group below
- There is a specific Google group for talking about Goods and Donations (eg. clothes).
- firstname.lastname@example.org> anyone on the group can email a message that everyone will read and answer if they want; everyone will see your message and your reply, although you can email the person directly if you don’t want everyone to see the reply. To join email email@example.com, to leave, click ‘unsubscribe’ at the bottom of a message from the group or tell Sarah. Everyone on it can send message, all receive all messages – there is no moderation or editing for now. You will need a Google account.
- Cynthia from Ready Homes/Clear Springs is in the group and you can contact her via the googlegroup or email Sarah to forward your message to the Goods and Donations googlegroup.
- Though this network is set up for hotels in Hayes and WD area, we are interacting with organisations working on a far wider area eg. Hillsong and Ready Homes. – Needs ways to link up/share lessons especially if they have solutions in other areas that might work here.
- Before now, each other smaller hotel where people were housed had its own multi-agency team meetings organised by Clear Springs/Ready Homes(?check this). This would be an excellent thing to start for the Crown Plaza and Airlink in Hillingdon – especially as Crowne Plaza has 500+ and they have been there since Summer. Clinical and NHS Health teams meet already. A cross-sector local multi-agency meeting would be a very good step.
Can I take things directly to the hotels? People and groups have taken various bags and items to the hotels directly, but some are refused entry. The Hotel managers (Clearsprings/Ready Homes and the Belvedere Hotels – onsite staff) want to have organised deliveries because of security, Covid, planning their staff time, storage. They prefer items to be given for specific residents, not bags. Bags of unsorted clothes are a problem for them to give out – Covid, wastage etc. Many organisations are still waiting for a single contact person or number to make arrangements for dropping off or for asking what is needed so they can drop off sorted bags.
What about Toys and play equipment, play activities?: Organisations locally have and can get toys. Bell Farm, Hillsong, donations from Hasbro etc. but distribution is not clear.
What is needed? What is urgently needed
- Bell Farm needs male trousers, jumpers, underwear, shoes,
- especially young boys and young men, secondary school age.
- Also look at the ‘Requests for help’ column on the Elist on www.reap.org.uk hotels support network page (password ‘hotel’)
How can we do an appeal for goods and donations?
- It will probably be easy to appeal for donations: Several groups participating in these zoom calls about Goods and Donations can put out appeals. Eg. Hillingdon Women’s centre, Helen/John McDonnell, Hayes Town Partnership
- BUT: might be overwhelmed by response and not able to collect, store, sort, transport or distribute clothes.
- AND keep everyone safe from Covid 19
- Group agrees best approach is to be able to make specific appeals to specific groups of supporters, based on what organisations know is needed, eg. we need 3 baby buggies.
- Need to know what to ask for – find out from the organisations that are distributing / doing needs assessments at the hotels
- Need to tell people a place to take donations to
- Need to be able to store it
- Need to be able to sort it: Very helpful if bags of donations are already sorted into eg. trousers, shoes size 9 etc.
- Need to be able to transport it
- Need to be able to distribute it – might be able to work with organisations near the hotels to feed into their distributions.
- Anyone can drop off goods at Bell Farm which is the nearest to the Crown Plaza – please contact them first to check a good time to drop off.
- May be other storage possibilities in Hayes but still need a way to sort and distribute.
WELLBEING, ACTIVITIES, ORIENTATION + ESOL/OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARNING ENGLISH
Being developed – please send information and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions that still need answers
- How to make sure everyone gets what they need?: Concern that people who are articulate, English-speakers, find services and ask get what they ask for, but people who are vulnerable, eg. Mental ill health, no English, complications might get nothing. Need decent way to identify needs and distribute to all who need, fairly. Some ideas in ‘Actions’
- Still need to know who to contact taking donations directly to the hotels.
- Can charities access a room in the hotel to leave goods, hand out donations,
- Are there play facilities or other health activities for children or adults. Voluntary sector (eg Hillsong) can help but not clear how to link up.
- Cash / Oyster cards Transport: How to respond to requests for help with transport eg. Oyster cards, bikes. A few organisations (West London Welcome) can give our Oyster cards. If you want to give out cash or Oyster cards be cautious about giving cash/cash value eg Oyster cards/vouchers: risk of breaking terms of support under ‘destitution’ which could cause problems for people supported by NASS/in asylum process.
- Process for getting permission to provide services (from clothes to yoga) onsite: Clear Springs/Ready Homes Cynthia will email out what charities are required to send so they can get accreditation to visit the hotels. Eg. ‘information on the charities and accreditation information. Eg. DBS information and terms being met.’