I received the letter below unsolicited from the YMCA and I am printing it in the hope that those concerned will accept that something is badly wrong with what is happening to asylum seekers in Glasgow.
Ms. Qureshi clearly makes some serious allegations and Mr. Connolly clearly refutes them robustly. I just want the matter clarified and something done about it and I hope that both agencies and others involved can act together to solve this very serious problem.
Please find attached a statement from Joe Connolly, Chief Executive Officer, YMCA Glasgow regarding correspondence circulated by Robina Qureshi, Director, Positive Action in Housing.
Personal Assistant to CEO
William Harte House
15 Dava Street
G51 2JA Tel: 0141 565 1204
Mob: 07876028653 Fax: 0141 565 1219 Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb:
Statement from Joe Connolly, Chief Executive, YMCA Glasgow
Thursday 11 March 2010 – 14.30pm
Correspondence Circulated by Robina Qureshi – Positive Action in Housing
YMCA Glasgow was contacted, via messages left on the Head Office answer phone, in the early evening of Wednesday 10 March 2010 by BBC Radio Scotland and Radio Clyde. The messages were picked up when the office opened at 9am on Thursday 11 March and each was requesting that I contact the respective radio stations.
I proceeded to contact Radio Clyde in the first instance to be told by a reporter that they had received by e-mail the previous evening a letter from Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing (PAiH) in which she has made a number of allegations about the treatment of a YMCA Glasgow service user at 33 Petershill Drive on the evening of Tuesday 9 March 2010.
As you can see, the letter is addressed to me. I understand from various sources that it has been circulated extensively to a number of individuals and organisations, including sections of the press. To date, this letter has not been received by YMCA Glasgow and, in order to address the issues referred to in it, I asked the Radio Clyde reporter to e-mail it to me.
Having consulted with relevant staff who were on duty in 33 Petershill Drive at the time when the alleged incident referred to in the letter was taking place, I am satisfied that the allegations made by Robina Qureshi are totally unfounded.
My staff at the YMCA Glasgow service at Petershill Drive have reported that they were approached on the evening of 9 March 2010 by a woman who spoke to them in a challenging manner to the point that staff felt intimidated by her. She was accompanied by a man who seemed to be taking notes.
Staff have informed me that the description of events described in Ms Qureshi’s letter bears no resemblance to what staff members experienced, witnessed and said during the evening of Tuesday 9 March 2010.
I can also say, emphatically, that the description of events in Ms Qureshi’s letter bears no resemblance to what is standard practice within YMCA Glasgow asylum seeker services in which we operate an effective “no eviction” policy.
I will not comment in detail on the personal circumstances of any of YMCA Glasgow service user as to do so would breach our policy on service user confidentiality. It is, however, important in the circumstances to note that the person named by Ms Qureshi in her letter is, with his belongings, accommodated by YMCA Glasgow and, in accordance with our no eviction policy, will remain so until the Scottish Refugee Council are able to provide him with the assistance he requires.
YMCA Glasgow delivers similar services to other organisations, such as Glasgow City Council, which provide accommodation on behalf of the UK Borders Agency to asylum seekers in Scotland.
YMCA Glasgow funds a number of services and initiatives for asylum seekers and refugees from our own voluntary income. In the past two years this has amounted to approximately £2 million, a substantial amount of which is capital funding which we have used to refurbish accommodation in the North Glasgow, including at Petershill Drive. We have also supported the establishment of asylum seeker residents association as a means of ensuring that service users can communicate in a structured way with YMCA Glasgow for the purpose of working collaboratively to continuously improve services.
YMCA Glasgow is a charitable organisation registered with the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) and, in common with other registered charities, our financial accounts are in the public domain.
Contact: Joseph P Connolly Chief Executive Officer
YMCA Glasgow Head Office
William Harte House 15 Dava Street
Glasgow Tel: 0141 565 120 Fax: 0141 565 1219