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Celebrating Refugee Week in Kent

July 18th, 2018

In Kent Outreach sessions we have been celebrating Refugee Week and talking about life in the UK as a refugee. The young people told us what they like best about being in the UK. The overwhelming response was the right to education and freedom. These are things we often take for granted however our young people highlighted just how lucky we are. I for one feel incredibly lucky, not just to live in a country where we have freedom and access to healthcare and education, but also to spend my days working with brave and inspirational young people every day. They inspire me to appreciate the opportunities we are offered in the UK as well as make the most of every precious moment. It is a pleasure to be part of their lives so let’s say a big thank you to all the young people we work with for letting us be part of their journey to make a new home in the UK.

Referrals are being taken for Outreach support, for enquiries please email referrals@asphaleia.co.uk. This service provides one-to-one support for young asylum seekers and refugees, teaching them independent living and self care skills. The topics covered vary depending on the areas that the young person requires support with, thereby creating a package of outreach support that is tailored to meet individual targets and goals.

Future Aspirations for a Young Person in Care West Sussex

July 18th, 2018

Outreach workers in our Care venture have been encouraging our YP to focus on their futures and have been supporting them to apply for colleges in the south east of England. Outreach worker Layla supported a YP to enroll on a construction course at a local college. The YP was very anxious on arrival to the college as they had found attending a school setting previously was a difficult task for them. Layla advised the YP that college is different from school and is a more adult environment. The YP took part in a bricklaying workshop and learnt lots of new things such as how to lay a course of bricks, how to build a corner, what the meaning of ”Plumb or Plumb bob” was and where it had derived from. (The ”plumb” in ”plumb-bob” comes from the fact that such tools were originally made of lead (Latin: plumbum, French: plomb). In ancient history the Egyptians and Romans used a bob of lead on a piece of string to check if the buildings were vertical or in line. After the workshop-the YP said he enjoyed the day at college and was looking forward to starting in September and learning a trade for his future….and to earn some money.

asphaleia care provide support services to UASC in Kent and West Sussex.

asphaleia Organisational Day June 2018

July 18th, 2018

On Thursday 7th June we had our Organisational Day in Worthing. All asphaleia teams gathered at the Chatsworth Hotel for training, team development, and most importantly…the 2018 asphaleia awards!!

The day was incredibly enjoyable. There was plenty of learning, celebrations and laughs for everyone. Reminding ourselves of the highs and the lows, the challenges and the successes in 2017 and of course looking ahead to 2018 was truly inspiring. Re-affirming our values and mission – ‘to impact as many lives of children and young people who have experienced disadvantage as we can’ was a great reminder of why we work for such a meaningful cause.

We then moved on to some insightful workshops delivered by four of our asphaleia action specialists. These workshops covered some very prominent themes we are all coming into contact with more and more in some context through our work; Child Sexual Exploitation, Mental Health and Well-being, Prevent and County Lines. These were well-received by staff and left us wanting to learn more.

Getting to know the Leadership Team and hearing how their roles have developed into specialist areas was a great way to identify how they contribute to the wider organisation. We also got the chance to hear from three of our colleagues in our ‘chat show’, telling us their experiences of working at asphaleia and what goes on in their typical day. Listening to their stories was really encouraging and motivational.

Teams got together in their ventures to look at planning delivery and developments ahead. It’s always a good way to share ideas and planning together to see them through. We are already looking forward to see how these plans unfold!

Then it was time for the staff awards…….here are the pictures of all the winners from this year – WELL DONE TO EVERYONE !!!!

Dedication to Service Users went to Learning Support Assistant, Alan Olieff

Staff Award went to Centre Administrator, Toni Shortell

Dedication to the role went to Independent Visitor, Amy Burrell

Venture of the year went to asphaleia training

Staff member of the year went to Care Manager, Jodie Brown

Once again – a MASSIVE WELL DONE to everyone !!!!

Young People Celebrate Refugee Week 2018 Through Art

July 5th, 2018

To celebrate Refugee week (18th – 24th June) we teamed up with the Sussex Partnership Trust and ran a pop up art studio for our UASC students at our training centre. This was led by artist Sara Dare and Jo Squires, Mental Health Practitioner for CAMHS in West Sussex who is supporting our students around their mental health. We held two drop in’s for students throughout the day where they focused on ‘One Line Drawing’ and drew portraits of each other only using one line without taking their pencil off of the page; asphaleia staff also tried this and it was not easy! In addition to this young people drew using pencils and charcoal and teamed together to create a large floor piece, which was good fun. We provided the young people with photo frames so they could put their drawings up in their homes. Some drew pictures of themselves and others drew family members.

At our training centre in Worthing we offer ESOL courses to UASC students. To make a referral please contact our training team on 01903 823546.

   

   

asphaleia Marketing at Kent County Council Conference

July 5th, 2018

This week asphaleia attended a conference at Kent County Council where we were part of a marketing place for attendees. The conference was attended by professionals from other local authorities and the aim was for Kent County Council to share best practice by supporting Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and how this has been managed over the years with large numbers of children entering Kent. The conference was attended by many professionals, some councils who we work with in other areas and also other organisations we have worked with who support young people such as the Refugee Council, KRAN, Kent Kindness Maidstone and the Red Cross. asphaleia was represented by Jodie Brown, the Care Manager, who shared information about our current services in Kent which include:

  • Our outreach service supporting young people in the community to learn and improve their independent living skills both at home and out in the community.
  • SAFE project working with young people who are supported to address any gaps in understanding around citizenship, respect for women, acceptable behaviour and attitude.
  • Palm Tree project providing therapeutic art work to young people to support them around mental health and well-being.

If you wish to make a referral to any of our services please contact us at referrals@asphaleia.co.uk.

 

Can Stress Ever be Useful? Our Young People on the Palm Tree Project Find Out!

July 5th, 2018

We’ve all felt it, those butterflies and the tight knot in our stomach. Stress can help us cope and take action when needed and give us motivation. However stress can also become too much. Too much of the negative kind can lead to us struggling to cope.
Stress was this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in May. On the Palm Tree Project, young people discussed what makes them stressed and what helps them cope.

Understanding how stress can also be useful helps to see this as a more balanced issue in life and not just one of negativity. Finding out what makes us stressed and what relieves our stress can be even more useful. A tool that can help make sense of this is the stress container (also sometimes called a stress bucket) tool designed by the Mental Health Foundation of England. Have a look for yourself, and share with anyone who might find it useful!

The stress-relieving activities offered by young people below are listening to music, playing guitar or cricket, and talking to friends. Young people found these things help them either discuss things that make them stressed and feel better about them, or provide a distraction from these- which makes them feel better. Talking about what helps you cope even when you feel good can be very important. It helps you remember in times when you do really need them, even though they could be the simplest of things, they can make a big difference!

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 gwenvanstappen@asphaleia.co.uk to find out more.

         

Health Assessment and Immunisation for our UASC Young People

June 26th, 2018

Refugees and Asylum seekers are amongst the most vulnerable groups in society. They represent a wide range of different cultures, languages and backgrounds. By definition, an asylum seeker or refugee is fleeing persecution and is seeking protection, however they will each have individual experience, some may be fleeing war or torture or sexual violence and have a wide range of physical and psychological needs.

Here at asphaleia we support them every day with all their basic needs: cooking, cleaning, registering them to school, GP, dentist, etc.

For example we assist each of them to have an initial health assessment for conditions as TB and other diseases and also their mental health.

The asylum seekers arriving in the UK usually have limited records of immunisation and frequently have not had any at all so once they have been registered with a GP we book them appointments to have three courses of immunisations.

All our young people are very nervous when they hear about vaccinations, but on the day, a nurse will explain which immunisations they will receive and answer any questions they may have.

They will receive their immunisations by injection, usually in the thigh or upper arm and the vaccines will protect against: hepatitis B, measles, polio, rubella, tetanus.

All the UASC clients are very relieved once they have finished the courses and often admit they were scared for nothing!

asphaleia care provides housing and outreach support services for UASC (unaccompanied asylum seeking children) in West Sussex, West London, Croydon and Kent.

 

 

 

What Does Ramadan Mean to You? An Interview with a Young Person

June 26th, 2018

Ramadan is an important month in the Islamic calendar. It took place from 15th of May to 14th of June, this year. One of our care team interviewed one of our young people to find out what this celebration represents and how they manage to get through the fast:

CB: Hi M can you explain  to me what Ramadan is?

M: During the month of Ramadan, Muslims won’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. This is called fasting and is important during Ramadan as it allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith and come closer to Allah, or God.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which form the basis of how Muslims live their lives. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but the date changes each year because the Islamic calendar is based on the cycles of the moon.

CB: What does Ramadan represent for you?

M: Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends. Unfortunately, I cannot spend time with my family anymore as they have passed away but I am surrounded by friends.

CB: How do you feel during fasting?

M: Fasting is not easy and I usually have a meal just before sunrise and another directly after sunset. Before going to sleep I drink milk mixed with water.

CB: What do you do at the end of the fast each day?

M: When the sun has gone down – families and friends will get together for iftar to break their fast. Very often we also go to the mosque to pray.

CB: Does everybody fast?

M: No, not everybody fasts during Ramadan. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who are ill or who are travelling don’t have to fast.

CB: What happens when Ramadan ends?

M: There is a special three-day festival to mark the end of Ramadan. This is called Eid al-Fitr – the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. It begins when the first sight of the new moon is seen in the sky.

Muslims will not only celebrate the end of fasting, but will also thank Allah for the help and strength that He gave them throughout the previous month.

asphaleia care provides housing services for UASC (unaccompanied asylum seeking children) in West Sussex, West London, and Croydon.

 

Charity Shopping in Kent with our Outreach Service

June 26th, 2018

This week in Kent we have been visiting charity shops as part of a budgeting session. These sessions tend to be interactive practical sessions in which we think of various ways we can save money. Charity shops are often a new concept to the young people most are pleasantly surprised at the hidden treasures that can be found within. As well as how much money can be saved buying clothing, furniture and household items from them.

      

Another part of the budgeting session includes writing a budgeting plan to highlight other areas in which money can be saved. Mobile phones are often an area in which money can be saved and so we look at various network deals and work out which would be the most practical and best value for the young person. Hopefully, following these sessions, the young people become more money conscious and a little more savvy at hunting out those bargains.

Referrals are being taken for Outreach support, for enquiries please email referrals@asphaleia.co.uk. This service provides one to one support for young Asylum Seekers and Refugees, teaching them independent living and self care skills. The topics covered vary depending on the areas that the young person requires support with, thereby creating a package of outreach support that is tailored to meet individual targets and goals.

Facebook Tops List of Sites Used for Online Grooming

June 18th, 2018

Figures show that since April 2017:

  • 32.6% of grooming cases involved the use of Facebook
  • 18.8% of grooming cases used the Facebook owned apps Instagram and WhatsApp
  • The second most-used app in grooming cases was Snapchat.1

Figures released by the Home Office on 26th April 2018 show that the total number of police-recorded grooming offences for the first 9 months of 2016/17, including both the offence of meeting a child following grooming and the new offence of sexual communication with a child, was 2,966. (NSPCC, 2018)

Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe online:

  • Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
  • Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself.  Once you’ve put  a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
  • Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
  • Never give out your passwords.
  • Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
  • Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online.  Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do.
  • Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
  • Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
  • Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
  • If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

 If you are a young person, carer or professional and need further support with keeping children and young people safe online, please contact headoffice@asphaleia.co.uk for more information or to speak with one of our SAFE project workers based in Worthing, London and Kent.