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After18’s Success with Comic Relief Funding

In February 2014 After18 were awarded £9,532 through the Community Foundation from the Comic Relief Local Communities fund.

After18 works with young people up to the age of 25 with a particular focus on unaccompanied asylum seeking children and  young adults. They provide specialist information and support to enable those they work with to adjust to life in the UK and prepare for their future.

Training on the computer

The organisation works with young people who have come to the UK alone after becoming separated from their family, usually in traumatic circumstances.  Many have had limited or disrupted education and arrive in the UK at the point when their peers are doing their exams.  Language barriers, uncertainty about their future and living independently all impact on their access to education. 

After18 recognises that young people who are in the UK without their family have additional support needs to their peers. They work to develop their skills and capabilities through individual support, group work and activities.  As well as the education project  they also run an arts programme and a women’s programme.  

With the help of the Comic Relief funding After18  provided  an education  drop-in  for  unaccompanied young people.  The drop in met weekly at St Martins House and provided access to computers. Here the young people were matched with volunteers who provided some of the following  help and support:

  • Tuition in Maths, English and Science
  • Advice on accessing higher education
  • Preparation and entry for home language GCSEs
  • Advice and support to maintain their education (such as registering  at college familiarising  with library)
  • Homework support

Alison Birch from After18 said, ‘Some further education colleges have recently started charging asylum seekers for ESOL classes which, for most, is unaffordable. After18 have also supported young people who are not able to buy food as they are paying for an education.’

Group session

Through After18 two young people were entered for GCSE Persian through a partnership with a local school. Both young people achieved  As. After18 believes it is really important for young people to take home language exams to boost the number of GCSEs they have: as they arrive late in their school careers  and  need to concentrate on English  they tend to leave education with fewer  formal  qualifications  than  they are capable  of.

Three young people working with After18 have also been supported to become trainee researchers at Oxford University.

Some of those who have attended After18 said:

“It helps to distract us from past bad times.” 

“It’s important for our future.”

 

Well done After18!