A brief note from Ian

19 March 2020

Hi everyone,

Firstly, I hope you're all doing as okay as is humanly possible. Thank you for your lovely messages regarding our postponed tour. We are all feeling the same stuff here, and the collective urge to simply look out for each other has never felt stronger. Music and The Arts have never felt so needed, but it's all there online for the time being. And hopefully soon, we can all do our thing - with some of you in the room!

I feel lucky. That is, compared to artists with young families and mortgages, buskers with no passing crowds, self-employed folk with nothing but instant debts and now only a very new type of anxiety. It only escalates in these terrifying days.

We are surrounded by marginalised fellow humans. We were before COVID19. And now they are becoming invisible.

And alongside our country's rough sleepers, the 'working poor' and those under an already compromised social care system, paralysed by Universal Credit and a government unable to make decisions in a life-threatening crisis - there are hugely vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, as has been proven since the world named it a 'crisis' in early September, 2015.

These folk now have zero organised support. Fear and self-protection has removed many connections. This is not unsurprising. But it doesn't have to be like this.

This is a letter from my friend, Ros Ereira, at Amnesty UK. it highlights a brilliant, pragmatic individual initiative, to assist vulnerables now places are closing. Please read it and share it if that feels right. If not, I appreciate your getting this far anyway - and I'll see some of you in better times. With love and best wishes to you all,

Ian Shaw.

www.sidebysiderefugees.org (supporting all compromised citizens, working closely with NGOS and on-the-ground)

From Ros…

Dear friends

I hope you are all safe and well and managing OK in these difficult times.

I wanted to share this with you, so that you can hopefully share it widely among your networks.

Many drop in centres and migrant support services across London are now closed due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). A community group has been set up by Joseph Funnell, of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants and also Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers, to connect individuals and organisations on a local level and to signpost those looking for help, volunteers and resources.

Please consider joining this group or invite someone to join this group if you/they are one of the following:

  • A migrant, an asylum seeker or an individual without immigration status who needs immediate support
  • An organisation that supports migrants and asylum seekers
  • An individual who is able to support asylum seekers in their local area
  • An individual with with language skills who is able to assist with translation
  • An existing regional mutual aid group looking to reach out to migrant groups


With all best wishes