We are delighted to announce that we've started working in Oxford; the first city outside of London where we are running our educational mentoring programme. Oxford is home to a significant number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), from countries like Afghanistan and Eritrea, as well as housing resettled Syrian families.
Schools and charities in Oxford have welcomed Refugee Support Network and have said how much they feel the young people will benefit from the support provided by the educational mentoring programme. A teacher has commented:
“This is exactly what the young people in my class need! They are eager to learn and longing to make a life for themselves in Oxford. Having a friend to help them overcome the educational obstacles they face will be invaluable. And really rewarding for the mentor too. I’m thrilled this is starting in Oxford!”
Georgina Chetwynd, a qualified social worker who has worked with unaccompanied minors in Oxford for the past three years, joins our team as the mentoring coordinator for Oxford. Based in St Aldate's Church, she'll be taking referrals of young people and will be training up volunteers to support them with their education. We're looking forward to partnering with some great organisations like Asylum Welcome and Refugee Resource. Georgina tells us:
"I am so encouraged that a relatively simple idea – linking a young person with an adult for an hour of education support a week – can make such a tangible difference: doing better in education, building their self-confidence and helping them realise their future. Oxford already has some wonderful services for refugees and asylum seekers and I am pleased that Refugee Support Network will complement these services well."