Services for Young People Hertfordshire Services for Young People

Services for Young People supports unaccompanied migrant young people

31 January 2023

The Services for Young People East Herts Team has been working closely with Hertfordshire County Council’s Leaving Care Team to support the migrant young people in the area.

Young people joining their hands in a circle.

In August and October 2022 Services for Young People (SfYP) provided a bespoke holiday activity project for unaccompanied migrant young people from across Broxbourne, East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield. Based upon our successful Positive Pathways programme and working with colleagues in the Leaving Care Team, the project supported 29 young people who participated in sessions covering personal safety, healthy lifestyles, relationships and sexual health, and emotional wellbeing.

Many of the young people have limited personal space, no safe area for exercising, and few opportunities to meet with other young people, so enjoyed socialising with their peers and taking part in activities including football, volleyball and cricket.

As part of a scrapheap challenge, the young people created models which related to significant experiences in their lives. Some constructed lorries, others tanks and boats, which reflected their individual experiences and provided an opportunity for them to tell their stories of trauma, separation and loss.

Providing ongoing support, the weekly Bishop’s Stortford Migrant & Care Experienced Young People's Project, recently named by the young people as ‘For Teens to be Teens’, is attended by young people aged 13-16 originally from countries including Qatar, Bhutan, India and Pakistan.

Many have caring responsibilities at home with the majority living in confined conditions in a local hotel where they do not have the freedom or choices that many UK young people have, such as being able to choose what they eat, cook their own meals or have their own bedroom.

The young people have enjoyed using the newly refurbished Bishop’s Stortford Young People’s Centre where they have the space to move, engage in team building activities, socialise, learn life skills and cook in the training kitchen. Practising their English and having the opportunity to establish healthy friendships with peers who are also migrants has been an invaluable support and helped them settle into life in the UK.

A young migrant received a Be Happy Young People’s Award during National Youth Work Week in November 2022 in recognition of how he empowers other young people to get involved in activities at the project through his positivity and ‘can-do’ attitude. He also takes every opportunity to share his excellent planning, organisation and motivational skills with his peers.

Read more about SfYP’s support for young people