Since we published our initial COVID-19 response, the UK has gone into lockdown.
Here is an update on what life is looking like for young refugees and how we’re changing things to keep serving them during this challenging time.
We have launched our Connected Through Covid initiative
In its absence, we are valuing human connection more than ever. We’re encouraging our friends to keep connected by:
- Sharing messages of support with isolated young refugees through our Sending Solidarity initiative
- Listening to young refugees' Dear Friend messages about how to live well in times of crisis
- Donating to RSN to ensure that young refugees keep getting the help and support they so desperately need
"Your call is the bright point of my day" - Sara, a young refugee supported by RSN through COVID-19
We have published a policy paper and recommendations
Our paper outlines the emerging impact of the COVID-19 crisis on young refugees’ education and wellbeing in the UK, based on RSN’s direct support work with young refugees in recent weeks. It also details recommendations to central government, local authorities and education stakeholders to help ensure that young refugees’ education and wellbeing is not forgotten during this crisis. Read our policy briefing here.
We are adapting our programmes to enable young refugees to keep receiving the educational and wellbeing support they desperately need
Young refugees consistently tell us how much education means to them, so school and college closures are hitting them particularly hard.
- Our office is closed and our team is working remotely
- We now deliver all our specialist educational support sessions via phone or video conferencing
- Following a pilot period, we are rolling out virtual educational mentoring via our team of volunteers
- We are encouraging young people with the messages of support sent through our Sending Solidarity initiative
- We're working in close partnership with other organisations and networks to provide joined-up support
"I'm really appreciating your help. You don't know how much" - Abdul, a young refugee supported by RSN through COVID-19
We are responding to emerging and acute needs among young refugees
School closures and social distancing, compounded by pre-existing mental health conditions and safeguarding concerns, are exacerbating physical and psychosocial challenges entrenching poverty, increasing isolation and generating new acute needs.
- We are providing additional remote psychosocial support
- We are enabling young people to access the technology they need to keep studying and stay connected
- We are organising emergency food drops off and care packages for the most vulnerable and helping them access other support such as local food banks and universal credit
One young refugee told us that he had felt so low that he was "50/50 whether just to die" before his virtual session with an RSN support worker which brought him back from the edge and restored his sense of hope.
We are trying to secure new funding to support young refugees in the short and long term
We still need to secure £372k towards this year’s budget.
Over 80% of the trusts and foundations we had planned to apply to or were in the process of applying to are no longer accepting applications because of COVID.
Key fundraising opportunities such as the London Marathon have been postponed.
We currently have low reserves due to our strategic investment in our new education home for young refugees.