Project to improve refugee prospects gets go-ahead

Young refugee project supported by People’s Postcode Lottery launches in Birmingham.

The British Red Cross, in partnership with the Refugee Council and UpRising, have launched a new project to help 500 young refugees in Birmingham, Luton and Leeds.
The Surviving to Thriving project, which has been funded by players of will provide practical life skills and mental health support to young refugees. It will also develop their leadership and employability skills.

The Refugee Council will provide tailored therapeutic support for young refugees, alongside group therapy sessions. This will enable young refugees to address their trauma and help them regain their well-being so that they can look forward to the future.

The Red Cross will offer one-to-one case work designed around the specific needs of the young refugees and group sessions designed to create social networks while increasing their knowledge, skills and confidence. The charity will also help them access services including legal representation.

Kalyani McCarthy, British Red Cross project manager, said, “Over the summer in each location we are organising group outings in the local community to help young people feel integrated and try new activities. In Birmingham we have organised a joint group outing between the Refugee Council and the British Red Cross to a donkey sanctuary where we hope young people will be able to experience donkey assisted therapy which helps them learn through experiencing and discovering things about the donkeys through hands-on interaction with the donkeys.”

UpRising will introduce young refugees to the idea of leadership and social action, while building self-esteem and other key skills to raise their confidence and aspirations. This will be done through a three month, part-time programme called Find your Power that will introduce social action as a means to develop leadership skills and community engagement.

Alex Wrack, Senior Programme Manager and UpRising lead for the project in Birmingham said: “We are delighted to be working on this project and expanding our delivery to refugees and asylum seekers. We will be delivering a tailored version of our Find Your Power programme which gives young people the opportunity to gain important new skills, meet and influence key local leaders at specially designed community question time events, and make digital campaign videos about the issues that matter to them.”

The project will also deliver training to 400 professionals within the voluntary and statutory sector to build their knowledge and skills in how to support the specific needs of young refugees. To find out more about the project visit