'It was like finding fresh water in a desert'

That's how Victoria describes the moment she and her 11 year old daughter finally secured status in the UK last year.

Victoria first came to the UK when she was pregnant with the hope of building a better life with her partner and new baby. But when her partner left one night out of the blue, she was left destitute and alone.

‘I didn’t know what to do’, she says, ‘I knew my visa was going to expire but I had no money and felt like I had nowhere to turn’.

As a new mum, Victoria did everything she could to keep her and her little one going – working as a cleaner and home carer - determined to build a future for herself and her daughter.

One day, the care agency she worked for invited her to a ‘training’ which turned out to be an immigration raid. Fearing deportation, she turned to lawyers for help, eventually finding support through JCWI.

After 11 years, our lawyers helped Victoria and her daughter secure leave to remain in the UK last year. But the past few months haven’t been easy. They had to move house after the close friend they were living with, who her daughter called ‘Grandma’, passed away during the first wave of the pandemic. And their struggle for security isn't over - we are still trying to secure British citizenship for Victoria's daughter.

This Christmas, we want Victoria to know that families like hers are welcome and loved. We are putting together Christmas care packages for all the families we work with, made up of winter essentials, groceries and treats.

Please will you help make Christmas special for families like Victoria’s?