Posted: 03 August 2019

Practitioner stories: Sophie Agrotis

Our story this week comes from Sophie, a practitioner and volunteer coordinator at By Your Side. By Your Side is a support service for separated asylum seekers, refugee and migrant young people aged 14 to 21, across London.

Practitioners like Sophie provide invaluable support to these young people who need help with asylm applications, accommodation and many other practical needs.

When did you join The Children’s Society and what were you doing before? 

I joined in 2016, and before that I was working as a project coordinator for a local foodbank / welfare rights advice project. I also ran a Sunday drop-in centre for migrants in south London for a few years.

What team do you work in and what’s your role at The Children’s Society?  

I work on the By Your Side project as a practitioner and volunteer coordinator. Our team supports unaccompanied young people (aged 14-21) to navigate the asylum and immigration system, ensure their rights and entitlements are met and that they have access to relevant services.

We also work to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing through a youth group, befriending project, and a therapy service. 

What are your main responsibilities?  

I am responsible for running the youth group and volunteer befriending project, and I also do some casework. 

What does an average day look like in the service?  

Really varied! My role involves a mix of accompanying young people to appointments and supporting them with advice and advocacy, training and supervising volunteers, matching them with young people, and reading about the exciting activities they do, and planning fun and useful group sessions and trips.

I'm really lucky to have a balance of very different activities in my role, and a mixture of challenging problem-solving, and loads of fun!

What’s the best part of your job? 

Probably the people I work with. I work with fantastic and expert colleagues, really dedicated, thoughtful and energetic volunteers, and some truly amazing young people. 

What are your hopes for young people that use the service?  

That they are able to feel hopeful for the future, and settled and safe in our communities. And that they are treated with respect and humanity by the systems and institutions that affect their lives. 

I hope they 'are able to feel hopeful for the future, and settled and safe in our communities'

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