This week we were proud and delighted to welcome Diane Abbott the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, to a distribution at a London hotel we support.
As one of the MPs supporting our proposed amendment to the Illegal Migration bill, she wanted to see how we worked, and to meet refugees so she could understand their experiences in the UK. The distribution of clothes and other essentials had a especially warm feeling as it was for Ramadan, so there were some decorations and activities such as henna hand painting.
At the hotel Diane’s warmth, dedication and sharpness of mind are really impressive as she interacted with the refugees. She helped give items out, chatted to refugees and hotel staff, and was very keen to learn about the details of refugees’ journeys. She was visibly moved talking to one woman from Syria who described her harrowing journey across the channel, and the difficulties of getting to France in the first place.
The MP also heard first hand from a mother who has been in a hotel room for over a year with her three young children. One of the children is autistic, and she described the challenges for him in living in a small, restricted space.
The staff at the hotel were working hard to make refugees feel safe and welcome, and the whole day felt warm, encouraging and hopeful.
Thank you Diane for taking the time to meet the refugees and hear their stories. You are a great advocate for those in need.