Published 20th March 2019

Paige’s Story

Reunite Families UK started as a Facebook group in late 2017 by Jane Yilmaz and Caroline Coombs, whose families were both separated due to the harsh family migration laws in the UK. They decided to set up the group to offer support and advice to others who were affected, which is how Community Organisers’ member Paige came across the group. Paige tells us more about her experience:

I was separated from my fiancé for a total of 11 months and 2 days because of an unlawful refusal of my fiancé’s visa. During this time, in January 2018, I attended the Introduction to Community Organising course run by Moussa Amine Sylla, and with the help of the training – and ongoing support from Moussa – I was able to use my new found skills to complain to the Home Office.

It wasn’t until May 2018 that I came across and joined Reunite Families UK.  The group wanted to campaign against these unjust immigration rules, but we didn’t have many members and so we felt that our voice wasn’t strong enough to enforce change.

Through the support of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Migrants Resource Centre, many of the members including myself were able to have media stories published about the injustices we faced (and some are still facing!).  As a result of Reunite Families UK being promoted through the media, our membership soared to over 1,200 members – most of them affected by immigration rules.

In July 2018, the decision to prevent my fiancé from entering the UK was overturned at appeal; and now my fiancé is my husband [you can see a photo of the wedding at the top of this page].  Since then, myself and a few others have become a part of the Reunite Families UK admin team in order to help spread our campaigning techniques. Our members are currently promoting what is happening to cross border families.

I’ve continued to attend various sessions and workshops run by Community Organisers as a way to further my knowledge and skills; often feeding back information about community organising to Reunite Families UK.

Reunite Families UK has become a large group, and we’re trying to become bigger and better. Recently, we created a website and – going forward – we’d like to do more; hopefully setting up as a registered organisation to focus on immigration issues in order to have a sustainable change.

To find out more about Reunite Families UK, please click HERE.


If you've got a great story about community organising and the positive impact it is having in your community we would love to hear from you.