Home Office awards grants to raise awareness of Windrush support schemes

Windrush Day Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The Home Office has awarded £150,000 worth of grants to community organisations which raise awareness of the Government’s Windrush compensation and documentation scheme.

The Windrush Community Engagement Fund was set up to support charities, grassroots organisations and other community groups helping people understand the Windrush Status and Windrush Compensation Schemes.

The money is intended to support those affected by errors which led to thousands of legal UK residents being mistakenly classified as immigration offenders.

The fund provides support to 16 diverse groups and organisations, which applied for grants of between £5,000 and £10,000, to assist their engagement with individuals and communities about the Windrush schemes, the Home Office said.

The HMT Empire Windrush brought migrants to the UK Credit: PA

The initiative is designed to “bolster efforts” to reach as many people as possible by providing information about eligibility criteria, guidance on the application process, and to address any misunderstandings about what the schemes cover.

More than 21,400 people have applied to the documentation scheme, with at least 16,700 people being issued with documentation confirming their status or British citizenship.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched in April 2019 and has paid out £73.58 million up to the end of October 2023.

However, there have been major delays in payments to those entitled to them, with a number of people dying before they received their compensation.

The number of applications so far is also a fraction of what the Government initially anticipated, with some arguing that the scheme is not accessible enough.

In April, Human Rights Watch branded the scheme “hostile” and “not fit for purpose”, requesting that the running be handed over from the Home Office to an independent body.

The Windrush Community Fund, a similar fund of £500,000, was launched in December 2020.

Successful bidders for the latest fund have demonstrated how they will “reach communities and individuals within and beyond the Caribbean community, including those with roots in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana and India”, the Home Office said.

Activities and projects the fund supports may include hosting small-scale engagement groups, one-to-one sessions and creating and sharing materials such as leaflets and posters.

Minister for Legal Migration and the Border Tom Pursglove said: “The money we are providing will make sure groups, with roots and well-established networks in their communities, can help the Government reach as many people as possible to encourage them to come forward.

“We know this is the most effective way to get the message out and assure people that they will get the guidance and support necessary to get the documentation they need and to apply for compensation they so rightly deserve, having contributed so much to the UK.”