‘Refugee Forum has been with me from the beginning of my life in the UK. They helped me a lot and they have always been next to me facing all the difficulties as a young person who does not have his family here. All the people from the Youth Project have become a member of my new family that I’m glad to have’ – S, age 17 from Syria
Why did we set up the Youth Project?
Our work with young people includes those living with families seeking asylum, separated young people in the care of the local authority (UASCs), and refugee young people.
Navigating a complex asylum system and adapting to life in the UK create specific challenges for young people seeking refuge. Much research has documented the anxiety felt by children and young people during the asylum process. In particular the feelings of being in limbo and unable to plan for their future. While children and young people are often remarkably courageous and resilient in the face of adversity, the treatment they receive once in the UK often has a negative effect on their emotional well-being.
How do we help?
Firstly, our work with young people aims to empower them to understand their rights within the immigration and care system.
Secondly, we aim to reduce social isolation through an exciting programme of events and activities. These are also designed to increase their orientation within the local area and access to youth specific services.
We run weekly sessions where young people can meet each other. Here they can participate in a number of activities. These include: dance and drama lessons, sports, table tennis and crafts. We have also included relevant information sessions on things such as first aid, access to education and English lessons.
We also organize trips to local places of interest. Recent activities have included taking the young people cycling, on campus trips to Nottingham Trent and Nottingham University, bowling, ice skating, visiting Nottingham Castle and caves, a trip to the Nottingham Contemporary, and the Fire Station.
Work also includes individual case-work, advocacy, mentoring, guidance and signposting to other relevant services and organisations in the city who we work in partnership with.
‘It’s been really wonderful being part of the youth group, it really helped me get through bad times and helped me improve my English, and I want to say thank you to the staff so much.’
S, aged 15, from Sri Lanka