People affected by the Windrush scandal are being urged to get help with the trauma, even if they are worried about applying for compensation.

The Hackney-based Claudia Jones Organisation offers support to people caught up in the scandal.

It is one of the partners of the Windrush Justice Clinic, a collaboration between legal advice clinics from universities and law centres across London, the Windrush Compensation Project at Leicester University, and community interest company the Jigsaw House Society.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is another organisation offering help in applying.

The Windrush Compensation scheme was set up by the government when the hundreds of stories of those who had suffered from the Windrush scandal emerged.

It followed a discredited Home Office policy which saw British citizens, mainly of Caribbean heritage, denied rights and services and deported or threatened with deportation.

The scheme means people who came to the UK from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1973 could be entitled to compensation if they put in a claim.

Some children travelled on relatives’ passports and so have no proof they arrived in the UK.

To make matters worse, the government destroyed ships’ manifests before the policy of deporting the Windrush generation began.

Many of these people were wrongly told they were living illegally in the UK and were detained or deported and were not given access to their legal rights, despite being invited to come to the country to work.

People could be eligible for compensation if they or their parents or grandparents came to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973 or if they came to the UK from any country before 31 December 1988 and are now settled here.

They can also apply if they are closely related to someone eligible to claim and had significant losses or are representing the estate of someone who would have been eligible.

No-one knows the exact number of people caught up in the scandal, but it is thought there are thousands – more than officially estimated – with many reluctant to come forward.

Subira Cameron-Goppy, Windrush co-ordinator at the Claudia Jones Organisation, said the latest figures show that since October her organisation has helped 39 people with their applications.

“I feel that a lot more people are eligible than we have got now,” she said.

One Hackney resident told the LDRS that their experience has been too traumatic to even think about applying for compensation.

It is feared there are many more who will not apply.

Cameron-Goppy said: “If you do not want to go through your case at this stage, at least allow us to help you with your emotional and mental state and acknowledge all you have been through.”

People lost jobs over the scandal and others lost their homes. Some clients are currently out of the country as they have not been able to return.

It has also proved hard tracking down paperwork to prove their history in the UK to put together their compensation claim and help them appeal if necessary.

Evidence from the UK visa agency takes a minimum of 10 weeks and other pieces of evidence might be needed from local councils and others.

Hackney councillor Carole Williams is the first cabinet member in any local authority in the UK to be given responsibility for Windrush – celebrating the contribution the Windrush generation makes and supporting those caught up in the scandal.

She said: “Everything about this [compensation] scheme, right from the outset, the number of claimants, the lack of advertising from the government, the number of people who are waiting for their claims to be processed, the number of people who have died waiting for access to medical treatment, it is all really shocking.”

The Town Hall made a submission to the government, telling it “about the trauma that can’t be ignored”.

The compensation scheme has come under criticism by Parliament’s Home Affairs committee and Justice Network Lawyers because it is administered by the Home Office, which questioned people’s rights to live in the country and because the majority have not been compensated.

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The charity is also looking for people with volunteering, legal advocacy or outreach skills who can support the project.