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The Refugee Council

The London School Trust supports educational and cultural causes to further cross-cultural and multinational understanding. Since 2015 The London School Trust has donated regularly to the Refugee Council’s Youth Development project.

The Refugee Council set up the Youth Development Project in 2000 to meet the educational and social needs of unaccompanied children arriving in the UK as refugees and asylum seekers.

These children and young people arrive here alone, separated from parents or guardians. Many suffered traumatic experiences, unimaginable to most. Some witnessed the death or torture of parents or other relatives, others were the victims of torture, violence, abuse or trafficking themselves. Some had lived on their own for months, travelling through multiple countries, often sleeping rough.

Joe, from the Refugee Council

Unaccompanied young asylum seekers face numerous challenges, including social isolation, loss of identify and culture, anxiety and depression. The Youth Development Project offers a range of classes and activities to help these children take the first steps in rebuilding their lives.

A safe space for learning

Some children arrive in the UK with a very basic level of understanding and so rely on non-verbal gestures to express their needs. Others have suffered years of disruption to their schooling in their home countries. English as a Second Language (ESOL) and Maths classes help children get ready to join mainstream UK schools and alleviate social isolation.

For separated refugee children the Refugee Council’s maths and English classes are vital. When they arrive, many feel anxious and insecure. The classes are a safe place where they get lots of attention and care, a place they can grow in confidence whilst waiting for a place at school. I wish them to feel welcome and to know they are important.

Trish, volunteer teacher

Essential life skills and professional skills

Unaccompanied children have their lives interrupted at a pivotal point in their personal development. Whilst their peers in the UK are discovering new opportunities and nurturing their talents, unaccompanied refugee children are forced to put their lives on hold in search of safety. Their futures are filled with uncertainty instead of possibilities.

The Refugee Council

Restarting an interrupted childhood

At the weekly Club Class, children can chat, play table football and enjoy music and art activities and forget about the stressful daily realities of claiming asylum. 

The project also provides excursions and trips, which have included a visit to Greenwich, a trip to the cinema and summer residential holidays. These trips create treasured memories for the participants, some of whom have never had the opportunity to see a film at the cinema or have a family holiday.

The Youth Development Project delivers workshops on skills including interviewing and CV writing, which help young people access work experience placements and vocational training.

Every year, the Refugee Council organises a summer trip which gives us a safe place to socialise and an opportunity to learn but this summer's trip to a farm in Somerset was different for so many reasons. During the summer, lots of people in the UK go on holiday but it is not so easy for us girls who don't have families in the UK. However, the Refugee Council planned a special residential trip for us and everyone was looking forward to it.


*Najat is a pseudonym

How The London School Trust’s support has helped

According to the Refugee Council:

The Refugee Council is incredibly grateful for the London School Trust’s continued support. Your donations have helped to ensure that unaccompanied children can thrive, not just survive, in the UK. On behalf of those you have supported, thank you!

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