Refugee Support Network - UK - 2021
Mentoring Support for Young Refugees
Refugee Support Network (RSN) enable young refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of trafficking to build more hopeful futures by accessing, remaining and progressing in education
Years: 2020, 2021
Young refugees have complex lives; many have fled trauma and are completely alone in a foreign country where they don’t speak the language and have to navigate a complicated immigration system. Refugee Support Network exists to enable 14-25 year old refugees in the UK, most of whom arrived as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, to build more hopeful futures.
Refugee Support Network do this by supporting young people to access, remain and progress in education. Currently over 500 young people each year benefit from the core programmes: educational mentoring, access to higher education, and specialist education and wellbeing support.
Since 2017 Refugee Support Network has been developing a successful mentoring programme in Birmingham. The project has provided continued weekly mentoring support for 26 young people and established a weekly maths group for them. Since the advent of the Coronavirus, the mentoring service has moved online, continuing to provide a valuable service.
The project in Birmingham has become a local hub, a community, in which young refugees can findsupport and a sense of belonging. On visits to the project, members of the ALMT Board found these young people’s dedication to learning inspirational. The work of the mentors provides vital support both with school subjects and pastorally, enabling these young people to move forward and envision a better future.
During 2021, RSN want to further embed the hub in this way and use the learning to inform their work in other cities. RSN want to enable young people in Birmingham to progress to universtiy and facilitate progression routes into RSN’s Youth Advisory Board feeding into RSN’s overall direction.
For the year starting November 2020, RSN will provide 30 young people with 1hr weekly mentoring support (at least 10 of these will be new to the programme). They will run 4 new mentor training sessions, with 12 new mentors joining the team.
The programme’s three core outcomes remain:
i) improved education retention and progression rates
ii) reduced social isolation and improved personal resilience and
iii) improved community cohesion and cooperation