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Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

What is Human Trafficking?

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Human trafficking involves recruitment, harbouring or transporting people into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forcing them to work against their will. Individuals can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation including labour and sexual. Both adults and children can find themselves as victims. However, when children are trafficked, no violence or coercion needs to be involved. Simply bringing them into exploitative conditions constitutes trafficking.

People often confuse human trafficking and people smuggling. People smuggling is the illegal movement of people across international borders for a fee. On arrival, the smuggled person is free. Human trafficking is different. The trafficker is moving a person for exploitation. There is no need to cross an international border. Human trafficking occurs at a national level, or even within one community.


Reports have shown that;

  • 51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men
  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women
  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women
  • 43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders

Estimates by The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC))

The number of people being referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the UK’s official framework for identifying victims of human trafficking -has risen steadily in recent years. Almost 1,400 victims, including cases of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, were identified last year.

Are you a professional working with young people? Do you want to know more about signs and indicators of trafficking or exploitation? Please contact a member of our SAFE team, based in Worthing, London and Kent-

Music and Emotional Well-Being with Young People in Kent

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

How do you use music? Do you use music to match the feelings you already have? Or do you choose songs to change your mood? Could you use music to make you feel better?

Often when we feel low, we choose to listen to songs that remind us of other sad times, allowing us to sink further into the low feelings we already had. Sometimes this really helps and allows us to step away from these feelings once you have been able to experience them openly. On the other hand, at times, it might make us feel stuck. It sometime starts a negative spiral of low mood and sad songs, bringing each other and you, down.

Are you aware of how you use music? Could you use music in a more beneficial way? Let us know your thoughts! On the Palm Tree Project we use music to feel our sad, angry and frustrated emotions and also to change into more positive feelings of calm and happiness. We listen as well as play music to do this- using piano, guitar and percussion. Practicing music on the Palm Tree Project at the Sunlight studios in Kent has given young people a new outlet for their creativity. They are learning a new skill and are engaged in positive activities around education. It provides a great hobby and entertainment for friends!


The Palm Tree Project works with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children under the care of Kent Social Services, aged between 13-18 years. The project uses mentoring, art and music sessions to support better mental health and well-being. Contact Gwen in Maidstone on 01622 690 857 or at to find out more.


Did Your Child Get a Device for Christmas? Post-Christmas Internet Safety

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The internet can be a fun and fascinating place for children and with the constant rise in internet enabled devices they were likely to feature on many Christmas lists. However; the internet is not without risks with inappropriate content easily accessible and the potential for online abuse ever present.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and network provider o2, are urging parents to make internet safety a priority if their children have received smartphones, tablets or gaming devices this Christmas. A recent survey undertaken by o2 and the NSPCC* found that 46% of children do not have parental controls on their devices and in fact only 29% of parents said that they were confident of the security measures that they had put in place.

This is why it is so important for every parent to set up parental controls on their children’s devices, says Tony Stower, head of child safety online at the NSPCC. Tony also suggests that it is a good idea for parents to have regular conversations with their children about their internet use, how to be safe online and how to report unsettling things. Parents can use controls to block harmful content, manage in-app purchases and put controls on how long children can spend online.

Parents need not worry if they are not technical experts- controls are easy to set up and help is available to those who should need it on 0808 800 5002. Experts from the o2/NSPCC helpline are available to help as are ‘gurus’ in o2 stores.

As ever, Safe West Sussex provides specialist 1-1 support for young people (aged 10-25) who could benefit from some extra support with relationships and online safety and offers support to parents around keeping their children safe. Contact  head office today for further information on: 01903 522966

* Survey taken by 442 parents of 5-10 year olds.


Self-Care Session with UASC Learners in Uxbridge

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Last week Debbie and James from The Children’s Society’s ‘Rise project for Trafficked Boys and Men’ met with some of our UASC learners in Uxbridge.

James and Debbie previously met with the group to talk about risk and safety, the focus for this session was ‘Self-Care’.

The group enjoyed participating in activities around identifying feelings and emotions and worked together to think about signs and indicators of emotions such as ‘anger’ in others. The young people came up with good examples highlighting how the whole body can communicate a range of feelings and emotions and reflected on their own triggers.

The session ended with a focus on ways to combat stress using sport, breathing exercises and meditation, providing the young people with helpful strategies to take away from the session.


YOU are a very important person and deserve to take time out, to ensure you’re feeling your best.

Some tips for self-care include:

  • Taking time out for YOU!

Take the time to do the things you enjoy, uninterrupted. This could be a hobby, listening to music, or taking a bath. Think about what feels right for you.

  • Being mindful of your mental health and any mood triggers

Seek support from your friends and family, talking and keeping them updated on how you are feeling and working together to work out the best ways they can help you when you may be feeling low. Sometimes keeping a mood diary can also help with identifying triggers and emotions.

  • Getting out and about

Seeing friends and family or an activity outside can help improve feelings of low mood.

  • Seeking professional support

Anxiety UK offers advice and support for people living with anxiety.

B-eat provides information and support for people affected by eating disorders.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) supports men’s mental health.

FRANK provides confidential drugs advice and information.

Hearing Voices Network runs an online forum and local groups across the country.

Mind Out offers mental health advice and support for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+.

No Panic offers help and advice about anxiety disorders, including a helpline and recovery groups.

StudentMinds supports students with their mental health.

YoungMinds supports children and young people with their mental health.

If you are supporting UASC (aged 16-20) in Kent and feel they may need support with keeping themselves or others safe, please email to make a referral or for more information about the SAFE Kent project.

If you are supporting UASC in Kent and feel they may need support with mental health, please email to make a referral to the Palm Tree project.

Takeover Challenge – Young People Takeover asphaleia!

Monday, December 11th, 2017



From the 20th-24th of November, asphaleia invited young people to take over as part of the Takeover Challenge!

Our centres in Uxbridge, Kent and Worthing had lots of activities throughout the week. Read below to find out more…

In Uxbridge the UASC learners turned the tables and taught their tutors and their peers about grammar; our learners enjoyed showing off their skills!


Laura’s SAFE session also got taken over by a young person who taught HER about healthy relationships!

Our Youth Forum saw learners directing the session too. The young people spoke about planning the next sessions and give their ideas to us.

Zoe let two young people take over the action Twitter & Instagram and asked them to write their own blogs…. Check out our social media sites to see how they did!




At our Kent office there was lots of arts and crafts with young people taking over Amanda’s drop-in session and creating amazing works of art.


In Bromley, the Independent visiting Scheme decided that the Takeover Challenge would be a great opportunity for a young person to take over the organising of a visit. The young person organised the monthly activity at Laser Tag in Orpington.  This was a great opportunity for the young person to gain confidence and develop her skills in planning.

Her mentor described the activity as very well organised and a fun day out.  The young person did really well in scoring the highest points out of 38 people at the venue!

In Worthing the training learners had a talk from Waitrose and Sainsbury employees. They then took over the session explaining what they had learnt and what it takes to make a career in retail.

Learners also took over social media and started creating a video of the learning centre and an introduction to staff… Watch this space to see the final video!

Some of the learners took over Nikki’s session and got to ask her questions about her job role and employment history and then some taught her about Romeo and Juliet which they are studying for their GCSEs.

To find out more about all of our projects in our various different locations please visit our social media sites:

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Comic Relief and British Airways visit SAFE West London

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

On the 13th November 2017, SAFE West London hosted a visit from Comic Relief and their corporate funders British Airways.

15 cabin crew members from the Flying Start project, as well as two comic relief colleagues spent a couple of hours hearing about the SAFE project to develop their understanding of the projects that comic relief fund.


Flying Start is the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief. 100% of money raised by Flying Start goes directly to Comic Relief.

Laura McGauran, the lead project worker, gave a presentation to the visitors including an overview of the project, the type of referrals and where they come from, targets and achievements as well as educating them on what Child Sexual Exploitation is. Two service users, one present and one historic, came in and spoke about their experience on the SAFE project and how it is helping/has helped them.

The afternoon was a great success and the Flying Start team from British Airways went away feeding back positive comments such as;

Thank you for a great afternoon, it is so good to see the hard work you are doing and the impact the funding from comic relief is happening.”

I really enjoyed my first visit to one of Comic Relief’s projects.”

”It has been helpful to hear about more the project and I feel I have a better understanding of the projects for when I am fundraising and raising awareness of the good causes that comic relief support.”

If you would like to know more information about SAFE WL, please contact Laura McGauran on 01895 272478.

Hannah’s Youth Talent Journey….

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Hannah joined The Youth Talent Project in Uxbridge in September and has now finished her programme. Hannah wanted to share her journey with you….

Before I started at asphaleia I was bored, I did try keeping busy by volunteering at my local primary school and going to the gym but I knew I needed to get myself ready for more. I left school with nothing as I spent year 11 in hospital for various reasons; reasons I am now coming to terms with and getting support with mentally. My Dad then saw an advert for Youth Talent and convinced me to meet with Zoe – I am glad I did!

I was apprehensive about opening up to someone new but I felt at ease and knew she would be supportive with my past and with what I wanted in my future. Everyone told me I had to get my GCSEs and re-sit them to get anywhere in life and this scared me, but Zoe explained that wasn’t exactly what I had to do right now …. I finally had options. I enjoyed being part of this project and meeting with Zoe each week. We spoke about my confidence and my nerves and these have improved.

We went to meet with a traineeship company and I am happy to say I am starting there in January! If we did not go together I doubt I would be saying this at all. I would just be doing the same old thing every day and not really progressing. I am looking forward to starting something new and fresh and just in time for the New Year. I am very grateful for Zoe’s help and my Dad is too. He said we were very pro-active! That would never normally be something he would say about me!’

To find out more about our projects in Uxbridge please call: 01895 272478 or visit our social media pages:

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ESOL Learners in Worthing Learn About Healthy Eating

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

This week ESOL learners in Worthing had their first workshop on looking after yourself. They key theme was diet and how this can impact on learning.

ESOL learners started the session discussing their favourite foods and practising their spelling.


Using the eat well plate we explored healthy and unhealthy foods. Many of the learners talked about not knowing what to eat for breakfast and often skipping this meal. As a group we shared ideas together.

Using line graphs the learners compared what happens to energy levels in your body when you eat a banana compared to having an energy drink. The learners were shocked and started to identify alternatives to energy drinks … the most popular suggestion was ”have aubergine!”

Next week learners will be making a healthy meal and eating lunch together while continuing to explore ways to look after yourself.

A Young Person’s Journey on our Projects in West London

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Samuel joined asphaleia Uxbridge in September this year…. Samuel was referred by the Participation Team at Hillingdon Borough as he needed support finding a progression route. At 21 years old Samuel had tried his hardest to access a course or a job but was not getting any success.

With the support of the Youth Talent project and then The Better Life project Samuel has found a suitable progression route and learnt to deal with some of his other issues that to begin with he didn’t even know he needed help with.

Samuel wanted to share his journey with you ….

Before asphaleia I was sitting at home doing nothing for months. I just spent days stuck in my room watching TV and playing the X Box. I knew I had to do something but usually I would start something or seek help and nothing would come of it so I went back to square one. My Mum kept saying, ‘come on Sammy get help’….. but I didn’t know what help!

Luckily a lady at the borough called me and said I should meet with Zoe, I was anxious as I had tried getting support before and didn’t like it but I went anyway. I liked being part of asphaleia because straight away I knew it was different, I could speak about my troubles and could see a way out! I will be starting a Pre-Employability Course in January thanks to Zoe building me up and applying for me. I know this will not fail and I am prepared and I took the time to speak about my anger issues and my feelings of anxiety. By doing this it has built my confidence and made me do more things; I walk the dog when I am bored because Zoe said this will help me more than the X box! I pop and see my Nan when things are getting on top of me at home. I use the bus after 1pm… I didn’t do this before in fear of it being too busy. So much has changed. If I didn’t come here I would still be at home and becoming a recluse as my brother used to say! Not anymore…. I can’t wait until January to make even more positive steps.

Zoe shared a quote with me and I would like to share it with you…..

To find out more about our projects in Uxbridge please call

01895 272478 or visit our social media pages:

Follow us on Instagram

Follow asphaleia action on twitter

Follow asphaleia boost on twitter

Follow asphaleia care on twitter

Follow asphaleia fostering on twitter

Follow asphaleia training on twitter

Like us on facebook

Sign up to receive the latest asphaleia news updates here – all you need to do is type in your email address. 

What is Sammy’s Law and What Does it Mean for Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation?

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Police chiefs and England’s children’s commissioner have backed calls for child sexual abuse victims to be pardoned for crimes they committed while being groomed.  The campaign to introduce ‘Sammy’s law’ is being led by Sammy Woodhouse, who, as a teenager, was abused by a child grooming gang in Rotherham.

She said: ”For people like me, who were prosecuted as exploited children, we now have to disclose our abuse at job interviews to explain our criminal records. We need to take into consideration if those people are now a risk and still offending as some do. We need to look at people as individuals.  Sammy believes that this means many young people, also in the same situation as she once was, then have to relive their abuse and cannot move on with their lives. She is championing Sammy’s Law, a campaign to change the law to allow victims of grooming and abuse to have their criminal records expunged where they were directed to commit those crimes by their attackers. The campaign is being backed by several Police Chief’s, MP’s and child protection experts in a bid to minimise the impact on victims.

Sarah Champion, the ex Labour MP for Rotherham who campaigns on behalf of abuse survivors, said a Sammy’s law would release survivors from the damaging smear forced upon them by their abusers . She said abusers leading their victims into crime was a key part of the grooming process and was used to isolate the children from their family and friends, Champion added: The policerecord for survivors of CSE (child sexual exploitation) makes them a lifelong victim of coercive control. It dogs every aspect of their life, from job applications to the shame of being found out.

”A criminal record can stop people like me from having a decent future. We have the right to move forward. I deserve to be cleared so I can move on,” Miss Woodhouse said, ‘individual circumstances’ should be taken into account, as abuse victims with criminal records not of their doing are often unable to get jobs because of their history.”

Find out about asphaleia action’s SAFE project here.