Hackney Migrant Centre is a small charity offering drop-in lunches every Wednesday to Asylum Seekers and Refugees. At these drop-ins, HMC provide advice on a range of issues including immigration, housing, welfare and access to physical and mental health services. Beyond initial advice at the drop-in, HMC provide ongoing casework, supporting the most vulnerable visitors in their interactions with solicitors, the Home Office and Social Services departments among others. Last year HMC helped 832 registered visitors from over 85 different countries. They welcome all migrants regardless of immigration status, nationality or background.

At the heart of the Hackney Migrant Centre is the sit-down lunch, feeding 80-90 people a tasty and nutritious meal each week (with meat and vegetarian options catering for their visitors diversity). The mealtime is an integral part of what makes coming to HMC a welcoming experience – presenting the opportunity for socialising as well as for enjoying excellent food. Visitors, volunteers, paid staff and visiting legal advisors and health professionals eat together around decorated tables in a friendly atmosphere.

Cooks and Kitchen helpers at HMC are all volunteers, many of whom first came to the centre as visitors seeking advice. Head Chef, Jose Charles, first came to the Centre four years ago as a visitor seeking help with his asylum claim. As a result of work carried out by HMC he has recently been awarded refugee status…. he loved the atmosphere at the centre so much he returns each week to volunteer in the kitchen!

Ernest will be raising funds to cover one years supply of kitchen and food and equipment for HMC for one year.