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BACA helps young asylum seekers with sports project

With funding of £1,498 from the Leicestershire Fund, BACA was able to provide weekly sports sessions to 25 unaccompanied asylum seeking children for a period of six months. The sessions covered  football, badminton, squash, ice skating, table tennis, climbing, basketball, beach volleyball, and boxing. The project helped the young people in a number of ways, including improving their physical health, communication skills and English, as well as teaching them teamwork, leadership and helping to build confidence and self-esteem.

Baca provides specialist supported accommodation and development training for 16-18 year old unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) arriving in the UK from a number of countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Eritrea. About a quarter of those they work with are suspected victims of human trafficking, and most have experienced terrible and traumatic pasts e.g. they may have been orphaned, seen war, persecution, been trafficked away from their families or exploited on their journeys.

The young people have widely varied educational backgrounds, and most speak no English on arrival. Baca’s support is based on a theory of change that maps out the risks UASC face and how these risks combine together to create trauma, loss of trust and self-confidence, isolation and often a belief that running away is the best option.

Baca’s support aims to overcome the difficulties these risks produce, by providing basic physical needs, assisting in access to services, providing emotional and therapeutic support, activities and training. The support they offer enables the young people to rebuild their self-esteem and confidence, engage with education, employment and training, and have the best chance to achieve long-term economic independence and stability within the UK or their country of birth if they return. In addition to accommodation, mentoring and education, BACA provides creative therapeutic sessions, sports sessions and skills workshops such as money management, cooking, personal hygiene and safety.

If you’d be interested in setting up a fund to help those in need locally, please contact Katy Green at Leicestershire & Rutland Community Foundation on 0116 262 4804.