REFUGEE WEEK 2018
Refugee Week takes place every year across the world, in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June
Refugee Week started in 1998 in response to the hostility seen in media and society towards refugees and asylum seekers. Now, as an established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week is a nationwide celebration which promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary.
Unfortunately people who are granted asylum in the UK can quickly become at risk of homelessness as their support payment ends 28 days after receiving refugee status. Recent research from No Accommodation Network (NACCOM), found that one in four people who were homeless and using night shelters were refugees, with some arriving there just one week after being evicted from asylum accommodation.
Your Place accepts referrals from the Refugee Council, and through our services we aim to help people to learn English if needed, receive support to access learning opportunities and improve work-readiness, and begin their new lives in the UK. We also work with Renessa’s RISE programme, dedicated to supporting refugees back into work through specialised mentoring, and through our partnership with Clifford Chance are able to offer one-on-one English tutoring.
All Ali* had ever known was fear in his home country. His family was forced to flee the dangers there in order to survive, but sadly, along the terrifying journey, Ali was separated from his loved ones. He had to continue on alone, despite being only 19 years old.
He arrived in the UK in January 2016, but that first year was incredibly unsettled, and the constant moving and upheaval took its toll on Ali’s physical and mental health. In early 2017, Ali was guided to Your Place, where he was welcomed and able to finally find safety, stability and the opportunity to build a better future.
Ali’s friendly nature soon saw him build friendships and support networks, and become a part of the community. He said, “I like the pool table in our lounge. I met lots of other people there and it helps me improve my English to talk and laugh with them”
He has also made the most of the opportunities available to him. He was delighted to be able to enrol at a local college, where he is learning English and Maths, among other subjects. He said, “I am happy here. I can study as much as I want, I’m doing well with my education, and there is a library just across the road.”
Ali particularly enjoys media studies, and hopes to be involved in documentary or film making in the future. He eagerly awaits the fortnightly photography skills sessions at Your Place, led by our wonderful volunteer photographer, Saul. In fact, the displayed photo is one of Ali favourites, which he took while putting his learning into practise.
Ali is just one of 262 people, who when experiencing homelessness, come to Your Place for a chance to improve their lives. If you would like to make a contribution and help to change a life, you can do so here: https://your-place.org.uk/donate/
*At their request, our service user’s name has been changed to protect their identity