Dozens of people attended the official launch of a support group for migrants last weekend.

The Waltham Forest Migrant Action Group (WFMAG) celebrated its inception with an evening of music, food and dancing at Harmony Hall, in Truro Road, Walthamstow on Saturday.

Steven Saxby, of St Barnabas Church in St Barnabas Road, helped set up the group with other volunteers to try and stop what he sees as the increasing marginalisation of people who have come here from other countries.

He hopes it will provide easier access to legal advice and benefits while providing a support network where migrants can socialise with other people to integrate more easily into society.

He said: “We’re tired of negative talk about migrants in the media. It’s important that we celebrate the role of migration in building our multicultural community.

“I’m pleased so many Walthamstow people came together to get to know one another and to help support people who have recently arrived in this country. They are among the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

And the audience, including London Assembly representative Jennette Arnold and former Walthamstow MP Neil Gerrard, discussed what issues to address first.

The audience, which included London Assembly member Jennette Arnold, MEP Jean Lambert and former Walthamstow MP Neil Gerrard, took part in a lively discussion.

One topic that came up was the claim that new immigration rules are preventing migrants from being joined by their families.

Don Flynn, of the Migrants Rights Network, said: “Hundreds of British citizens and permanent residents have been kept apart from their family members since July 2012.

“New rules require that people wishing to bring a spouse, partner or child to the UK from outside the EU must earn at least £18,600 per year. That’s higher than the income of almost half the UK working population.”

The WFMAG decided to hold its first annual meeting on Monday, July 1, at The Mill in Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow.

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