Responding to the refugee crisis: resources, practical advice & support available for members
04 November 2016
Posted by: Ambition
The Scout Association: “With the clearing of ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, and the numerous reports of those struggling to escape conflict and start new lives in the UK, it is sometimes difficult to know the most practical way we can help.
Putting ourselves in their shoes
Many of us have seen and heard the news that the UK is starting to welcome more refugees. In some cases, we are taking in whole families; in other cases, the refugees are unaccompanied children, including those with links to relatives already living in this country.
Regardless of our views of the world political situation which has brought this about, the immediate plight of these children and young people is deeply troubling. Consider for a moment how we would feel if one of our own children was frightened and alone in a warzone, sent to a strange country, unable to speak the language or even inform their family that they are safe. This powerful video by Save the Children imagines just such a scenario.”
Support offered by Ambition Members
There will be a wide-ranging response from Ambition members in terms of the services and support you will be able to provide refugee children. Local Authorities will be supporting children with their safeguard and welfare needs including securing foster care or supported housing provision, ensuring children with familys resident in this country are going to a safe, secure and loving environment, whilst also playing a principal role in preventing unaccompanied asylum-seeking or refugee children going missing. To ensure agencies are supported and extra resources are made available, the government will be publishing a strategy in Spring 2017 setting out the practical steps that will be implemented in recognition of the increased numbers and specific needs of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children.
Our Voluntary and Community Sector members are diverse in the provision they provide for young people, therefore, there will be some members more involved in the support of refugee children than others. However, even those not directly supporting refugees through the official processes and systems can help those young people and children new to our community utilising the services you and your partners provide. In general, practical support will be needed for:
Legal advice to support with paperwork
Support to secure and settle into school or college; this may include mentor support (peer to peer or a youth worker)
Mental and physical health issues which will inevitably be an outcome (in many cases delayed) as a consequence of the trauma they will have experienced
Support to integrate into their new communities with a safe and friendly environment in which young people can learn about their new community with others of their own age
Enjoyable activities to engage and involve which will support integration and learning
Ambition will be working with partners to play our part, alongside our members, in supporting children to settle in the UK. You will have already received our short survey which will help us map potential local services and we will continue our discussions with national partners on how we may expand our role. We would like to extend our thanks to The Scout Association who, through sharing their blog, has helped advise this communication.
Official support from UK Agencies - The British Red Cross has compiled this useful list of support available to refugee children and their families.
Refugee Action - can give you advice about claiming asylum, the asylum process, homelessness and asylum support.