Asylum Support Appeals Project wins Prestigious London Homelessness Award and £30,000

The Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) has won the London Homelessness Awards 2015 in memory of Andy Ludlow.

The Tower Hamlets based project works with asylum seekers by protecting their legal rights to food and shelter. The project provides free legal representation to asylum seekers who are destitute.

Simon Dow is the chair of the London Housing Foundation, which sponsors the awards along with Shelter, the Mayor of London and London Councils.  He said: “The panel were very impressed with the work of the Asylum Support Appeals Project.  They work with a very vulnerable and needy group of people who are destitute and struggling to survive.  As well as the practical help they offer, they also provide training and advice to help people move on in their lives.  We are very proud to be able to support them in this way. ”

Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said: “Homelessness is one of the most important issues facing London today.

“ASAP offers invaluable legal advice to support destitute asylum seekers as they take their appeal to tribunal. It provides a vital service to very vulnerable people, bringing some stability to their lives.”

ASAP employs four legal advisors and works with over 40 solicitors and barristers who give their time for free to represent asylum seekers at the Tribunal. There is no legal aid for this representation and without the ASAP service, destitute asylum seekers would have to navigate this complex area of law and represent themselves.
Second place was awarded to the Providence Row Catering Trainee Scheme who received £15,000 and third place and £10,000 went to Centrepoint for their Mini-Workwise programme.  More details of all the projects, and the three highly commended, are set out below:
Winner (£30,000): Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP)
ASAP reduces the destitution of asylum seekers by protecting their legal rights to food and shelter, and in turn combats the abuse they face when living on the streets and restores their human dignity. ASAP primarily provides free legal presentation to asylum seekers who are destitute and are appealing a refusal or discontinuation of asylum support by the Home Office, at the Asylum Support Tribunal based in Tower Hamlets. The organisation employs four legal advisors and works with over 40 solicitors and barristers who give their time for free to represent asylum seekers at the Tribunal. There is no legal aid for this representation and without the ASAP service, destitute asylum seekers would have to navigate this complex area of law and represent themselves.
Second (£15,000): Providence Row – Catering Trainee Scheme
The Catering Trainee Scheme engages clients affected by homelessness, and/or substance misuse and mental health issues, in training to move them into sustainable employment so they can gain a better chance of accessing housing (through the private rented sector). With a professional chef, trainees produce meals for 30-50 rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people using the centre daily. While training, clients also access other advice and support on-site to tackle the underlying causes of their homelessness. The Trainee Scheme works in partnership with Andaz Hotel where 18 chefs have provided more than 40 culinary skills workshops in their five restaurants or our kitchen. Trainees also attend ‘‘Working On It’ – a 10-week employability skills training programme which uses the skills of volunteers from local corporate partner organisations, including Rothschild and Freshfields. The curriculum addresses misconceptions about working, enhances confidence and aspiration to find work, and helps develop the skills to stay and succeed in work.
Third (£10,000): Centrepoint Alumni App – Mini-Workwise
The Mini-Workwise programme is a scheme that offers job-specific opportunities. The candidates who usually attend the Mini-Workwise programme have an interest and passion for a particular opportunity and are already considered job-ready, either through having completed the full Workwise programme or having had previous work experience. It aims to rapidly polish the young person’s job-readiness in three days and typically comprises at least one job opportunity at the end for the young person who has shown the most promise and commitment. The Youth Homelessness Databank (YHD) is a Google-funded two-year digital innovation project that has been running since December 2014 and is building two key digital tools for the youth homelessness sector.
Commended Projects 
Lambeth & Southwark Law Centres
Provision of Immigration Advice to Street Homeless Migrants
Lambeth & Southwark Law Centres  provide specialist immigration advice to street homeless migrants, second tier support for the agency workers who support them and free legal representation to assist project users access the immigration status or documentation that will assist them to get off the streets and rebuild their lives. The project started with weekly drop in advice surgeries at the West London Day Centre, we have organised training sessions for workers there and at other agencies who have contact with street homeless migrants, we have expanded the project to other projects supporting homeless people both with surgeries, referral systems and second-tier advice and even gone out with the outreach teams to look at how we can work with them.
Thames Reach 
The Work Ready Programme is a distinctive partnership between the corporate and voluntary sector with measurable outcomes. Thames Reach and McKinsey have together delivered two Work Ready Programmes, which consists of participation in an intensive week programme, which includes a residential weekend, away from London and people’s usual environments, both for participants, staff of Thames Reach and McKinsey, and volunteer mentors. This is followed by a week-long programme of workshops and visits delivered in the local community, and utilising local training venues, culminating in a graduation celebration. During this first stage of the programme, participants meet and engage with volunteer mentors who provide ongoing motivation, encouragement and practical advice to build upon the impact of the week and support the participant into and within volunteering, training, and employment.
Coram Voice
Coram Voice began an Outreach Project at the New Horizon Youth Centre for homeless young people in central London. Their aim is to seek out, inform and support young people who are homeless, or at risk, and who should be supported by their Local Authority. By getting their needs correctly recognised, Coram can ensure they provide safe, suitable housing as well as support with their other welfare needs.
Coram’s aim is to re-engage young people with Children’s Services so they are kept safe and have the opportunity to realise their full potential. We visit the Centre fortnightly and proactively seek out homeless young people who have previously been in contact with Children’s Services. We offer information about their rights and entitlements, and provide one-to-one advice sessions and intensive follow-up advocacy support (via our phone- or community-based advocates). Once the young person is housed, our team then help them to re-engage with the system and to access support with finances, housing and education. Our advocates make safeguarding referrals instruct solicitors and liaise with Children’s Services departments.
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