My background is as a philosopher. I studied for a PhD at Sussex in the philosophy of language, but ever since I was a teenager I have been involved in pro-migrant politics.
I got involved because I was part of Brighton Migrant Solidarity. We identified a massive need to support people with their housing needs in Brighton. It seemed like the most practical thing that we could do. I guess I was involved in BMS because, having a Jewish family, I am only alive because my relatives were able to move relatively freely to the UK. I have never understood why people see immigration as problematic. In fact, it seems to me that movement is beautiful. I want to live in a world where people can move freely and are not made homeless for the non-crime of crossing the border.Read more
About three and a half years ago, I listened to an interview with Jacob Berkson, the founder of T4K, on Refugee Radio and I immediately thought this is the organisation for me!
I had been becoming increasingly upset and angry about accounts of people fleeing life-threatening experiences in their home countries and then enduring terrifying journeys across Europe in order to achieve safety and sanctuary in the U.K. However instead of welcome and sanctuary they received humiliation and sanctions from a hostile and suspicious government.Read more
I decided to volunteer with T4K because I wanted to participate in collective resistance against the hostile environment of Tory government policies. I wanted to be part of a conscious collective that understands the tentacles of these hostile environment policies and its ramification on the everyday life of refugees and migrants that are entrapped by these policies. For me, even though T4K was set up as a systemic response to the Right to Rent law, in practice it takes a holistic approach to fighting back the hostile environment.
I joined T4K because my parents were refugees escaping from the Nazis, and the UK gave them refuge. Without that I would not be here. The current climate is so antagonistic towards refugees and asylum seekers that I felt I must do something to counter it.
The Home Office makes seeking refuge here incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for such people, and charities like T4K, and the volunteers that run it, are vital in defending and championing their cause.
I am a textile artist, working in knitting and crochet, and I participated in an art project that was run by the University of Brighton and the Hummingbird Project in 2017.
My contribution was to make a large collaborative blanket with a message of welcome (the Welcome Blanket), and this became a project which took over my life for about 10 months. In the process, I learned more about the situation of refugees and migrants in Brighton, and specifically how difficult it is for people to actually find a secure and safe place to live here, despite all the warm words and good intentions of well-meaning people like myself.
During the course of the project, we made a film, and after raising around £2000 through donations, sales of cards and events, I donated the blanket itself to T4K.Read more
“Retiring” from my full time work - in education, especially languages - I had the opportunity to see even more clearly how hard things were for new migrants to our supposedly welcoming and liberal city.
For just over three years now I’ve worked with Jacob and great colleagues to support destitute, at risk, people in Brighton. They come from Africa and the Middle East mainly, and all have so much to give.
As a volunteer with T4k, I’ve learnt so much from the individuals and families I’ve been working alongside. And from our great support network in the city.
I am a serial volunteer. In the last 20 years I have volunteered for at least a dozen organisations; in fact even my “day job” is mainly voluntary! I see volunteering in general as a sort of “giving back”. I am a member of the much-maligned “baby boomers” generation which is often blamed for, in some way (totally mysteriously to me), grabbing all the goodies that were meant for future generations; so I volunteer in order to make a contribution that might benefit those made less fortunate by the timing of their birth.
With T4K it’s a little different; we are helping people who find themselves on the receiving end of a vicious, racist “hostile environment” policy promulgated not by a particular generation, but by a group of people desperate to prop up their privileges by reference to fictional “national” and “ethnic” identities.
We are citizens of the world, and it is our duty to help our fellow-citizens if we can.
Jim (T4K treasurer)
Since the crisis for so many people in the Middle East and Africa escalated, some years ago, I wondered what I could do, so when the idea of T4K was suggested, I felt “this is the right movement for me.”
It wasn’t even an organisation then. I like that it is a group formed of people of all backgrounds and ages and races and status, some migrants themselves, some local citizens who want to present a challenge to the government’s “hostile environment,” which has resulted in such injustice and cruelty.Read more
I volunteer because people need help, especially those people escaping war. I’m happy to be a general dogsbody, helping to set up halls for fund raising events, sometimes driving a van and moving furniture . I also help with the some of the financial administration.
A few years ago I was so shocked by the treatment of migrants in Europe I decided I really wanted to try and make a difference, even a very small one, to people coming to Brighton in search of a safer, or just a better life.
T4K was just starting and I loved its ethos and the people involved. Along with other volunteers I’ve supported a number of people facing unimaginably difficult situations, due mainly to our mean-spirited and “hostile” system. But through T4K I‘ve also seen humanity at its best.