Gavin has been actively involved in refugee and migrant communities for a number of years working in both local government and the charitable sector. In the late 1990s he managed a refugee reception centre in partnership with the Red Cross and the U.N, for families airlifted from war zones. Later on, while managing the reception centre, he established a separate outreach advice and English language service for refugees in north London.
From 2002 onwards he worked in a range of roles in local government. These included heading up a small, multilingual outreach team to address conflict situations between new and existing communities. It also included raising awareness with public agencies and schools about the very different needs of refugees adjusting to a new way of life in the UK, while struggling with personal trauma from war.
Following the inclusion of east European states in the EU in 2003, his role expanded to include migrant workers. His outreach work was combined with evidenced based research to help inform local government policy and service interventions.
More recently, Gavin’s involvement in community development has evolved into an independent campaign role outside local government. Gavin strongly believes that the multiple forms of injustice we see today cannot be addressed by voluntary and community groups alone, nor by piecemeal legislation at state and local government level. What is needed is a new settlement between people and government and that can only be achieved by a new written constitution. Most importantly he feels that it must be ‘a just constitution’, one that embeds principles of economic, social and environmental justice as a guiding framework for government at every level.
It is this project that Gavin now seeks to promote by forging alliances across civil society organisations.