June Meeting

Refuge and freedom from Modern Slavery

A personal story from a member

“Some years ago I was gazing into the street waiting to start work when a car drew up containing five women. They got out and started to collect cleaning equipment from the back, one walked off and the others followed her.  There seemed to be a row going on, she clearly wanted to leave, they were clearly entreating her to return.  This went on for about 10 minutes. As things got more heightened between them I started to wonder, was there a trafficking element to this?  Did this women want to get away and was she being prevented from doing so?  There was no physical element involved. What could I do? How would I go about intervening or reporting what I had seen? Were they just having an ordinary row about something?

I had to return to work but have wondered often in the intervening years whether or not I could or should have taken an action and if so what might that have been. “

One of the 2021 Resolutions is to work to End Modern Slavery and so we are really pleased to be welcoming Jess from the Medaille Trust for our June meeting, having rescheduled this from February when the speaker was unwell. They are the biggest charity working with victims of Modern Slavery in the UK. 

They combat human trafficking and modern slavery by:  offering safe housing; providing support for victims; raising awareness in communities; partnering with law enforcement authorities. Modern slavery is both a global and local issue. So it requires a global and local response.  Alongside their work in the UK, The Medaille Trust work with organisations in places such as Albania helping to educate women and raising awareness of the reality of modern slavery to enable them to make informed decisions and avoid being trafficked with the promise of a golden life in the UK.

The Medaille Trust safe houses offer intense support to victims of modern slavery and a new project the Moving Out project aims to facilitate independent living in the UK through continuing with the level of support needed by their clients.  The Moving Out project emerged as a response to their clients accessing independent accommodation and then struggling to manage life.  It carries on the work that is offered by the safe house through case working, befriending, helping access further education, financial support and there are also plans for a variety of drop in sessions at their hub in Bank.

Jess has a background in working with homelessness and mental health and is passionate about working with vulnerable women in order to empower them to live their own lives.

Alongside learning about the work The Medaille Trust does day to day we will be learning what we might notice if someone was a victim of modern slavery and what steps we can take through the National Referral Mechanism to express any concern to the relevant authorities.

June 3rd on Zoom at 7.30pm

Book Group

Book group is meeting on 15th June on Zoom and are reading The Night Library by Matt Haig.

Walking Group

It’s back! The BST walking group has dusted off its walking boots and the first walk of the year has been planned.  ‘Sunset Over Greenwich’ on 21st June will see our keen walkers taking a trip to Island Gardens, walking under the river and then up the hill to the Observatory to watch the sunset and admire one of the finest views over London.

Save The Date

As part of the national Great Get Together we are planning a picnic for all our members to get together and reconnect in person after such a long time apart.  This will be on Saturday 19th June.  Exact details are still yet to be confirmed but we will be sending out an email invite nearer to the time.

Spring Trail

The De Beauvoir Spring Trail was a huge success, not least for the opportunity of seeing neighbours and friends, old and new. wandering around the streets of De Beauvoir shopping or bakes, marmalade, plants and all kinds of goodies. Thanks to all our bakers, jam makers and crafters who were so generous with their time and skills, and all who helped out on the trail, working behind the stall or directing shoppers and handing out maps.

History walks

We had two successful guided  history walks this month, taking a stroll around the old borough boundaries between Hackney and Islington, through squares, hospital sites, down the canal and into the city.  Huge thanks to Lesley, our resident expert and qualified tour guide for arranging these for us.  If you couldn’t make these walks but would like to join Lesley she has opened up her tour guiding business for small groups of people and has a variety of walks on offer currently.  Check out her website at http://www.lesleythompson.co.uk

Lesley with the sharks at the basin