Gerald is an elderly Somalian client. He has been in the UK for 13 years and became appeal rights exhausted after he failed to attend his appeal hearing, because he was so scared of the intrusive questions – they wanted to ask him about his family and what he witnessed when they were killed.
He has many past traumas. This has led to complex PTSD.
Recently, we have seen a decline in Gerald’s memory and capacity. He got lost reaching our office, getting to the GP and on his way to the dentist. The amazing memory team at the hospital have started a series of tests and assessments to see if dementia is a possibility.
Gerald comes to our office every week at the same time. We have been offering him destitution payments for a year now. He also uses our foodbank and was one of the first clients to access the vaccine through our partnership with the local CCG.
The entire office attempt to have a gap in their timetable so we can say hello and get a fist bump.
Barriers for Gerald have included the GP refusing to see him because he had no ID. Then they didn’t do the correct blood tests needed to progress his memory assessment. He prefers to walk as he is worried about getting public transport so in the worst weather he becomes very isolated.
Accessing his full story needed us to request his documents from the Home Office, a lengthy process. Finding a trustworthy legal aid immigration solicitor has also been a huge challenge.
Having to live for a lengthy period of time on £40 a week is not easy. Before we met him Gerald was on the streets for 2 years and then living in a car for a while… He has some good friends who keep an eye on him now and can stay in the home of a generous member of the community.
Gerald is one of the many vulnerable migrants living in our community. Each of them has a story that is complex and often tragic. Each of them has found strength that is inspirational. We are hopeful that once his medical diagnosis and mental health issues are formally recognised we can assist him to access a route to remain in the UK and receive the care he needs.
You can help us support people like Gerald with a donation by clicking on this link. Refugee Action Colchester | Localgiving