New guidance for Asylum Seekers with Care Needs – win!

HEAR members’ lobbying for better understanding of, and responses to the needs of disabled refugees, has resulted in the Home Office publishing updated guidance on how Asylum Seekers with Care Needs should be treated by HO, UKVI, Local Authorities and private contractors with statutory responsibilities (e.g. accommodation providers etc.,)

The previous guidance was published in 2004, 10 years prior to the Care Act being brought into being, so we are delighted to have worked with our colleagues in central government to get up-to-date advice for all partners supporting ‘customers’ with health, mental  health and social care needs and rights.

Basically rights for disabled people ‘trump’ immigration law!

Please share widely and use this guidance to get asylum seekers, refugees and those with ‘no recourse to public funds’ the support they are entitled to.

HEAR has established a googlegroup to support this work, connect front-line workers to share good practice and disseminate HEAR co-produced briefings that highlight the rights and entitlements of Deaf and Disabled refugees. This is also a mechanism to collect input on public policy issues so use this new guidance and share successes, wins and improvements needed

Did you know

Deaf and Disabled Refugees Strategic Expert Group

HEARs strategic expert group designing and monitoring our work to improve access to entitlements and services for Deaf and Disabled refugees, asylum seekers and those with ‘no recourse to public funds’ has its quarterly meeting on:

Tuesday 14th August, 12.30-16.30

The agenda and Terms of Reference are available here.
Discussions will include the Home Office/ UKVI updated guidance on Asylum Seekers with Care Needs, the setting priorities for Deaf and Disabled customers in Home Office Equality workplan, strategically communicating the message the rights for disabled people ‘trump’ immigration law.

Spaces are limited so if you are interested in joining the group please contact with your organisation name, interest and experience of the issues and any access and dietary needs.

Mental Health Equality campaign

ROTA, together with Black, Asian and Minority, Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) community organisations in West London and the HEAR Network have worked together to co-produce a mental health equality campaign.

In the open letter ROTA calls on all local Councillors, as well as the VCS and individual campaigners, to commit to the six action points that have been co-authored by Experts by Experience, user-led Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and BAMER organisations.
ROTA have garnered support from over 70 including newly elected councillors in a number of London boroughs. In Richmond the letter will be discussed in cabinet, a Barnet Cllr is putting the commitments forward as a motion, two Hounslow cllrs support our demands, and elected representatives in Tower Hamlets are interested in discussing how to take the work forward in East London.
We think that these commitments will lead to improved design, commissioning and delivery of mental health services for BAMER communities and, therefore, reduce mental health inequality and are summarised below:

  1. Highlighting the need to provide appropriate, sustainable services for my BAMER constituents…
  2. Addressing the multiple forms of marginalisation faced by BAMER services users…
  3. Holding … statutory colleagues, in the Local Authority and NHS, to account for meeting their duties under the Equality Act (2010) and the Statutory Public Sector Equality Duty (2011)…
  4. Championing the specialist, holistic services provided by local, user and community-led Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) for BAMER people with mental health support needs…
  5. Always reminding stakeholders that my BAMER constituents are not from ‘hard to reach communities’ and that genuine outreach and engagement will overcome structural barriers and unconscious bias.
  6. Ensuring Experts by Experience are involved in all stages of mental health service procurement, delivery pathways and mental health policy…

We ask you to support our campaign by:

  1. Signing up to the open letter electronically
    2. Emailing or mailing the open letter to local candidates in your borough and use it in your conversations with them
    3. Using Social Media to ask local parties, local candidates, local authorities, NHS (CCG’s and Mental Health Trusts) and other mental health stakeholders to commit to mental health equality, using the following hashtags: #MHEquality #MentalHealth4All #HardlyHardToReach
    4. Sharing the open letter with your network

You can find the open letter here:

To find out more or to get involved please email

HEAR partners with Changing Faces to challenge #VisibleHate

HEAR is delighted to partner with Changing Faces to highlight that for too long, people with facial disfigurements or visible differences have been putting up with hate, whether verbal, physical, or mental abuse, because of how they look. It’s time to break the cycle of #VisibleHate

Did you know that if someone has harmed or abused you either physically or verbally because you look different, then that may be a hate crime or hate incident?

The charity Changing Faces has just launched a set of new films of Experts by Experience to highlight how hate crimes affect people with visible differences – check them out

There’s a link here to view & share today with the hashtag #VisibleHate along with their great resources at explaining the law and how to report hate crime to break the cycle.

Targeting people because of a prejudice on the basis of a mark, scar or condition that affects appearance, including birthmarks, burns, craniofacial or congenital conditions (meaning a condition you are born with) , paralysis, acne or eczema, hairloss or differing appearance due to cancer or another disease, could be Disability Hate Crime.

Speak up, speak out, together let's stop it

1 in 3 people who look different have been a victim of hate crime. Break the cycle of visible hate

Linzie’s Story
Rory’s Story
Steve’s Story

Meeting on BMER Mental Health in Hounslow

HEAR, the Tamil Community Centre, Ilays – Somali Community Centre and Race on the Agenda are inviting BMER community organisations in Hounslow for a meeting on campaigning for mental health service provision in Hounslow for Black, Asian, refugee and other minority ethnic communities.

The meeting will take place on:

Tuesday 6 March, 14.30-18.00
Tamil Community Centre, 359 Hanworth Road, Hounslow, TW3 3SQ.

The meeting will be the first of three. The second is scheduled for 5 April 2018, 14:00 – 17:00 at the Tamil Community Centre, 359 Hanworth Road, Hounslow, TW3 3SQ and will be open to BMER community organisations across West London. The third session will take place in May 2018. Further information will be provided on these soon.

Participants will:

  • Discuss what is needed for Hounslow communities’ mental health equality
  • Decide on what to ask from the CCG, MHT and Local Authority
  • Plan the next steps of their campaign

If you have knowledge of the mental health needs of BMER people in Hounslow you can register by emailing or Places are limited so please tell us you want to come along with any access or communication needs.

We promote user-led projects and Experts by Experience.

Introduction to Deaf Hate Crime -28th Feb – last few places

DeafPLUS, a charity supporting Deaf and hard of hearing people, and HEAR have developed workshops to help raise understanding of D/deaf targeted hate crimes.

The workshops are part of a project aimed at increasing awareness of Deaf Hate Crime amongst Hard of Hearing people and will work to gather evidence via questionnaires of peoples’ understanding and experiences of Hate Crime that will be used by the Home Office to develop policy on D/deaf/hard of hearing Hate Crime. The workshops aim to educate participants on the legislation surrounding hate crimes, how to identify when it happens and what can be done about it.

A workshop for deafened/hard of hearing participants will be taking place on Wednesday February 28th 2018 from 12.30 to 4pm at Amnesty International, 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA.
A loop system will be in place for hearing aid/cochlear implant users, and lipspeakers will also be provided.

A number of openings are still available, so to book your place please get in touch with Geraldine O’Halloran using geraldine.o’ or by telephone at 0207 791 0105. Be sure to let her know of any other communication support you may need.


Asylum Seekers with Care Needs guidance – have your say!

Do you want to know more about the rights and entitlements of Deaf and Disabled refugees?

Do you want to add your expertise to HEAR’s work with our members to promote the fact that rights of disabled refugees (including those with no recourse to public fund, sometimes called ‘refused asylum seekers’ ) trump immigration law?

Do you want to give your thoughts to the Home Office/ UKVI about updated guidance, policy and procedure?

Did you know that those of us with Mental Health Support Needs, MS, or CP, people who have living post-stroke or with cancer or HIV, people with visual impairments, Deaf, deaf and deafened people, people with Down’s, autism, or PTSD are ALL DISABLED PEOPLE UNDER UK LAW?

We are a big, beautiful and diverse community so there’s always more to learn, and Experts by Experience to learn from.

Join our Disabled Refugees googlegroup to have a look and add your expertise to this important work.DASR google group

Have your say on the London Plan and equality-City Hall 5 Feb

London Plan Equalities Event

Monday 5th February, 2 pm-5 pm
City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, More London, SE1 2AA 

We invite you to an event to explore how the Mayor’s London Plan  tackles inequalities across London. The event is hosted by Just Space, “Our Way Ahead”, HEAR and a number of other equality networks.

The aim is to raise awareness of what the London Plan proposes and support each other in making representations on this very significant document. The event is for members of equality networks, user  groups that are equality based and community groups that experience social inequality, human rights campaigner and equality activists.

Many of the problems Londoners face are cross-cutting, intersectional and require an integrated approach.
The event is in collaboration with the GLA as part of their consultation on the London Plan. To register your interest in attending, please email the Just Space Coordinator stating your name, your organisation’s name, from whom you received the invitation, and any access requirements at

City Hall is wheelchair accessible, BSL interpreters and palantypist can be supplied  if we receive a request in time, please let us know as soon as possible

Places are limited and we will allocate spaces to ensure a breadth  of engagement from across the various equality networks

Refreshments will be served.

Confirmation, and agenda and further information will be sent by   Just Space so please direct enquiries and bookings to

We look forward to seeing you —

Changing Faces – Hate Crime Survey and Working Group

Changing Faces has recently secured some funding from the Home Office to develop a campaign for the disfigurement or visible difference community to raise awareness of hate crime and how to report it if they or a friend or family member are affected. A really important piece of work on an issue that needs much more focus and HEAR are delighted to work with them.

Take part in this survey to help us get an idea of the problem and what to do next.

The charity is also looking for some experts, individuals with personal experience along with various other individuals from across the field to join a working group for the campaign.

Working group members can input into one or more of the following:

–          Sharing knowledge of hate crime – recognising and reporting

–          Sharing ideas on how to empower people to report hate crimes

–          Sharing personal experiences from an individual’s perspective or on behalf of a family member

–          Input into creative assets including the film and accompanying social media campaign

–          Input into guidance for people with disfigurements to report a hate crime and appropriate signposting to services/support

–          Help to disseminate the creative assets and guidance

Time commitment:

–          3 working group meetings at the Changing Faces head office between January and July

–          Occasional calls/emails throughout the course of the campaign

Travel will be paid for along with refreshments provided at meetings

 For more information please contact the Changing Faces Campaigns Officer, Phyllida Swift on or02073919271