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Musician fighting to stay in the UK receives scholarship

FIGHTING ON: Owen Haisley, left, with Patrick Shambrook, director of S.E.M.

THE FIGHT to remain in the UK still continues for Manchester resident Owen Haisley, but despite his uncertain future, he has been awarded a prestigious Music Production Scholarship by a leading education provider.

Musician Haisley is a respected figure on the Manchester music scene and the School of Electronic Music (S.E.M.) wanted to acknowledge his contribution to the industry.

INVEST

In addition to his work as a performer, Haisley, who is also a youth worker, has worked with more than 2,000 youngsters in Greater Manchester over the past 12 years.

He said: “I’m really excited to get started at S.E.M. Going from almost being deported and having to deal with the thought of potentially not seeing my children for the next ten years, to having my deportation halted and returning to such support from the people of Manchester, has not only been extremely emotional, but also inspiring.

“I want to use the new skills I learn at S.E.M. to invest back into my youth work with the young people of Manchester, who I have always loved working with.”

There was overwhelming public interest in Owen’s case after he was due to be deported in February.

The 45-year-old father of three arrived in this country when he was only four years old, but after serving a short sentence for domestic assault in 2015, the indefinite leave to remain that he had been granted was revoked.

An online petition to support his appeal to remain in the UK received more than 10,000 signatures and there was political intervention from Labour MP for Manchester Central, Lucy Powell, Conservative MP for Maccles eld, David Rutley and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Despite his release from Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow Airport in March, Owen’s battle to remain in the UK with his family continues.

Recently, when the Home Office disputed the lifetime of education he has had in the UK, Owen had to obtain documentation from as far back as his primary school years.

Written statements provided by the head teacher, Sian Mainwaring, were needed to confirm his attendance at Tottenhall Infants School in London.

INSPIRATIONAL

Manchester-based promoter and Greater Manchester nighttime economy adviser, Sacha Lord, said: “Owen is, and always has been, a very key part of Manchester’s underground music scene, particularly within the drum ‘n’ bass community.

“It’s been truly inspirational to see the city get behind the campaign to save him from deportation and I fully support him in his fight to have his visa reinstated and for him to remain in Manchester, his home.”

A GoFundMe appeal has now been launched to fund his mounting legal costs. Read about it here.

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