Posted: 23 December 2016

A year in review

It has been a busy 2016 in our refugee and migrant services. 

The year has been laden with highs and lows, from exciting new project additions and welcoming staff to our team, to sadly saying goodbye to our refugee and migrant service in Oxford. Young people have had their voices heard in parliament, public events and in the media and we have continued to support and fight for their rights in our frontline services.

Looking back

Here we take a look through some of the key events involving refugee and migrant young people and the work of our services over 2016.


Advocacy post funded in Coventry project

Our 'My Place' project in Coventry, which contains a youth group for unaccompanied asylum seeker and refugee children, was able to host a much-needed advocacy service - covered by our dedicated practitioner, Louise Kinsella


Duchess of Gloucester visits our Birmingham youth group project

The Duchess of Gloucester is a patron of the organisation and, in March this year, she visited the unaccompanied asylum seeker youth group which meets in Birmingham



House of Lords EU Committee report

Unaccompanied asylum seeking young person from our projects was invited to parliament to give evidence for the House of Lords EU Committee report 'Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU'


Refugee Week

Young people from our Leeds LEAP project were involved in a football tournament with other refugee organisations. They received a trophy for being ‘well behaved’



Oxford service closed

Unfortunately, our service in Oxford, which provided a range of support to child refugees, had to close due to an end in funding.

The service was available to asylum-seeking and other migrant children in schools, including a school-based mental health service - which delivered direct therapeutic work with refugee and asylum-seeking students through individual, group and family interventions.

Trained therapists worked with refugee young people who were struggling with psychological distress and trauma as a result of their refugee experience.


Visit to Old Trafford stadium

A trip to Old Trafford stadium was arranged for the unaccompanied asylum seeking young people's group in our Manchester ‘Hope Project’



Banner making

We hosted two banner-making workshops ahead of the 'Refugees Welcome' march; one with unaccompanied asylum seeking young people from our services and another with The Children's Society Campaign Champions.

They created personalised placards and banners that we also then took to the march.



GAP Arts Project and bike scheme

The GAP Arts Project specialises in running drama workshops.

They invited young people, engaged in our Birmingham unaccompanied asylum seeking children's youth group, to use their space for two Thursdays, in September.

They supported the group in banner and placard making, ran drama workshops with the young people and facilitated dancing.

Gap also hosts young people from our Birmingham youth group once a week in their own space, at The Jubilee Centre. They offer free bikes, including bike safety and bike maintenance workshops. They offer a range of activities for the young people to choose from, including dance, photography, crafts and drama.

Volunteers from the GAP Project often visit the Birmingham youth group to engage with the young people, assisting them with sport and craft activities.

17 September

Refugees Welcome March in London

Staff, supporters and young people from our frontline services all took part in this year's Refugees Welcome march, which attracted around 100,000 people


Refugees Welcome March in London



Syd joined our Manchester Hope Project

Syd is a new project worker who does group work with unaccompanied asylum seeking young people and supports Hilda Higaro, also a project worker at Hope


The Old Rep and Frantic Assembly production

The Old Rep visited our Birmingham youth group to invite young people to audition for Frantic Assembly’s 'Ignition' project.

At least 6 young people who attend our Birmingham service attended the audition and 1 was short-listed.

26 October

peer-to-peer mentoring

Six young people from our Leeds LEAP project participated in the peer-to-peer mentoring training, which was delivered by Leeds Beckett University.

The training covered issues of confidentiality and professional boundaries and values for young people becoming peer mentors.

All six young people received certification from Leeds Beckett University for successfully completing the training.


Ellen and Alice

Ellen Free joined as a service manager in our Stratford project and Alice Myers returned from her maternity leave to her post as a service manager in Stratford.

Ellen and Alice both manage refugee and migrant children, and family projects within our Stratford service.



Our new Hat·tê·ḇāh project, working jointly with Mothers’ Union and Home for Good, seeks to raise awareness about the needs of young refugees and migrants, along with ways to support them.

Practitioners from our Stratford project delivered the first training of this series at the Diocese of Canterbury and this will be extended to other parts of the country in 2017.


Workshop at Salford University

Manchester project workers delivered a well-received training to build awareness on supporting young refugees and migrants.


June - October


Sport4Life hosted Sport Sessions every Thursday with unaccompanied migrant children from our Youth Group in Birmingham.

These sessions have been described as inclusive, engaging, fast-paced and loved by the young people who attend them. The sport is mainly football but others, such as cricket, are played as requested.

The numbers of young people attending sessions has grown from 1 at the start of August to an average of 15. In October half-term, Sport4Life and our Birmingham 'My Place' project, ran a series of workshops for young people accessing the services - focusing on building leadership and resilience skills, as well as employability training.

It culminated in the young people forming two 5-a-side teams for a football tournament with over 100 other young people. Anyone completing the four days were awarded UCAS points and the winning football team received tickets to a Premiere League game.


SMART service moves

Our Newcastle SMART service, which supports refugee and migrant children and families, moved to a new central location in Newcastle


Birch Network Partnership

This year we have started a partnership with the Birch Network.

David Hirst from the Birch Network comes to meet with the Birmingham youth group once a week to have a chat with the young people and matches them with family befrienders.

‘I love coming to youth group, it is just such a joy to be here’ – David Birch

David takes the young people to initial meetings with the family and continually monitors how the young person and the relationship is progressing.


External Activities

External activities have been arranged for children and families involved in our Stratford refugee and migrant projects.

‘Cunning running', family circus skills workshops, cinema trips, horse-riding,
Chickenshed group drama workshop and the Bike Project workshop all run for the families in our Stratford migrant family service.


First year for our Stand by Me project

The Stand by Me project provides holistic advice, advocacy and casework support for asylum seekers, refugees and migrant young people, who have been separated from their family - aged 16-21.

The project also organises social and group activities to improve emotional well-being and build resilience.

It delivers training to professionals to raise awareness about the issues affecting separated young people and their rights and entitlements.


LEAP project partnership

Throughout the year the Leeds LEAP project has offered weekly social and creative activities for refugee and migrant young people, in partnership with First Floor in Leeds - a creative arts organisation.


By Rupinder Parhar - Policy team

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