Christmas away from home
Christmas will look very different this year for a lot of young people across the country. However, for many, it was always going to be quiet. For some young refugees and migrants, this will be their first winter in a new place, without family and friends. It's tough. So we stay by their side. We show them people care and give them hope for a better year ahead.
refugee services at Christmas
Time to think
Some of the young people we work with don't celebrate Christmas. For them it's just a dark time of the year when a lot of services close. All of a sudden, nobody is around, people are on annual leave, and there's too much time to think.
For others, it is a time of celebration. Or a reminder of what they're missing. Young people tell us about big street parties in their country and their local traditions, how they used to give thanks for the year and look forward to the next.
Of course there will be no street parties or big family gatherings this year. But most of us will find it easy enough to make some sort of New Year resolution. More yoga. Less screen time.
For young refugees who have no control over their situation, it's hard to look forward.
Have fun and forget
We try to take their mind of everything. Left alone, it's easy to start missing friends and family, worrying about legal applications, stressing over things that are out of their control.
In previous years, we were able to do Christmas trips. We would go for meals or take a group ice skating. It's a chance to have fun and forget about their difficulties. It also introduces activities they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.
We've also been able to give a small gift to a lot of the young people we work with. Lots of these gifts are practical – a little toiletry gift set with a watch or washbag in it, a gym bag, or a wooly hat and gloves.
It’s so special to be able to give young people something that they can keep and take home, that lets them know we are thinking about them.
how supporters can help refugees
It's the small things
A big part of what we do is making sure young people are safe over the Christmas break. We do safety planning and provide emergency phone numbers, so they know who they can reach out to for help if they need it.
It's so important for the young people to know we are thinking about them in these difficult times. Small gestures like a Zoom chat, giving them a little present, or sharing a phone number can make young people feel cared for and welcome.
With people around who care, they can feel more hopeful about their future.
Help us keep hope alive
Our practitioners give young people the specialist support they need to overcome their biggest challenges. We fight to restore the hopes and happiness of those who need it most.
Whether it's helping a young refugee get through the trauma they've faced or just being there when they need to talk to someone. We help them make sense of things and recover, transforming their lives and their hope.
This Christmas, you can help by offering your words of support and writing a message of hope.