M is 16 years old and from Sudan. He arrived in the UK in October 2016, following the closure of the Calais jungle camp. He had spent several months in Calais having made it there after a harrowing journey 8 months earlier from war-torn Sudan. The older brother had previously been a client of NNRF and brought M to the Refugee Forum a week after his arrival in the UK.
We invited them to attend an information session we put on for the young people and family members newly arrived from Calais, where they could find out about services available, and practical information on how to access a GP, find a solicitor, and apply for school/college. The NNRF youth worker assisted M to register at college, register with a doctor, and find a local solicitor to progress his asylum claim. We also contacted the Home Office several times to communicate with them in regards to giving an extension for the submission of the form that under-18 unaccompanied minors are given when they claim asylum.
M was living with his brother in a shared house in Nottingham City. Unfortunately, shortly after his arrival the landlord informed the brother that he was in breach of his tenancy agreement and unable to continue to have his brother living in the property and gave them notice to leave. M and his brother came to the Refugee Forum for advice about housing and we informed the duty social worker of the housing issues. While the local authority was completing their assessment, M became homeless as his brother decided he could no longer care for him as he didn’t want to lose his own accommodation and as he was claiming benefits himself he could not afford to support his younger brother. Due to the emergency nature of the situation, the youth worker contacted a local organisation called Host who agreed to find an emergency placement for him in the community whilst the local authority was sourcing a more long term solution. He then spent the next 10 days with a volunteer host who provided him with somewhere safe to sleep and 3 meals a day. He was also provided with a 20-day bus pass so he could get around and still visit his brother who lived in another part of the city.
M has now been taken into the care of the local authority and lives in a semi-independent house in the city. We enrolled M at college and he is now studying 7 hours a week while awaiting a full time place at college in September. The Refugee Forum youth team have continued to work closely with the local authority and the support workers, attending his Looking After Child review meetings and Cahms appointments.
M was taken to his substantive asylum interview by a Youth Project volunteer, who had built up a good relationship with M since his arrival to the UK, and M requested she go with him on the day. M has now been granted 5 years’ refugee status in the UK, and is growing in confidence and maturity. He is looking forward to progressing his English language skills and focusing on his future.