Skills for life

Funding level: Up to £1,000


“This Is so good I could do it forever ! My friend is a really good climber and now I can tell him I have done it, can we come again ? Please !?” Quote from a young boy whose family came to this country to escape persecution.

The young people we support have had many different experiences. Some have fled war, human rights abuses and persecution. They have frequently lost their country, culture, family, status, friends and a certain future. Others were born here. All are growing up in a new country, often separated from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends who have been left behind. On arrival in the UK they may face poverty, racism and isolation. They and their families need to learn a new language, a new culture and a new way of life.

Refugee Action York has been providing support for asylum seekers, refugees and migrant families since 2002. In the last two years we have seen an increase in the numbers of people coming for support, in their different countries of origin and in the complexities of need - in the need for more and wider support for the whole family and especially for young people.

RAY staff and volunteers run a weekly youth club for these young people to build their confidence, meet other young people, develop new skills and above all have fun in a safe place. We aim to help them develop their sense of identity and also to understand and settle into their new lives in this country. We use art, craft, drama, sports, cooking, trips out - depending on the interests of those taking part.

We run a mentoring programme for our young people leading to an ASDAN (Award Scheme Development & Accreditation Network) award. The young people can chose from a range of topics, from art and design to football; they are encouraged to develop and use digital skills for research and can gain nationally approved qualifications based around the development of personal, social and employability skills. Trained volunteers act as mentors to provide support with applications for further education or work, writing CV’s and personal statements, as well as pursuing and developing specials skills and interests.

This has been very successful, for example, one young person was moved up two levels on his college course, as his tutor was so impressed with the work he was doing with his RAY mentor. Another has been able to enrol into college and is fulfilling her dream of studying fashion and design.

RAY’s support is based on individual needs and will help young refugees and asylum seekers to integrate, to enjoy new experiences and to develop the skills which will equip them for a positive and productive future.

One of our young people said to us “RAY has helped me with friendships, a safe space just to ‘BE’ and going on trips to the seaside, which I would not have been able to do”.

We need help to develop our services for young people, to grow our mentoring scheme, organise more activities and give them additional support in taking up further education, employment and training.

Young refugeesand asylum seekers have huge potential and we want to help them prepare for their future in this country.

Refugee Action York

Moment of Pride

Quite simply - this project is helping some of the most vulnerable young people in our society, who have already endured incredible hardship in their young lives.

Location: York