Elmbridge CAN is supporting a group of young refugees and asylum seekers to attend a summer activity camp in the beautiful Devon countryside.
Held at Trill Farm – a 300-acre organic farm and education centre – the camp will give these young people, who have all experienced extensive trauma and loss, the chance to participate in a diverse outdoor education programme spanning farming, carpentry, pottery, cooking and organic gardening.
Not only will it give them a unique opportunity to apply their developing English language skills, but it will enable them to strengthen their friendships, combat the isolation of the summer holiday and reap the therapeutic benefits of being immersed in nature.
WHO ARE WE HELPING?
These young refugees and asylum seekers (aged 15 to 18) were all forced to leave their homes – because of war, persecution or the threat of imprisonment without trial. Most of them had no idea if or when they would see their families again and undertook terrifying and dangerous journeys to escape.
Now in the UK, they have to endure a gruelling process of assessment – an endless series of interviews with solicitors, social workers, age assessors and the Home Office.
Some have been placed in foster care, others sent alone to hostels. All of them are studying English at a local Elmbridge-based college.
Aside from the challenge of learning English, these young people have to navigate an entirely new culture and one that isn’t always welcoming. Some are living in limbo, waiting to hear from the Home Office if they will be forcibly returned to the countries they fled in fear of their lives.
For these young people it can be impossible to imagine any kind of future.
Despite these challenges, and the trauma and anxiety about family and friends left behind, these young people are strong, resilient and determined – taking the strength that enabled them to survive and using it to drive their studies. They attend college, do their homework and learn to read and write and begin to make friends and trust people again.
English tutor and Elmbridge CAN volunteer Kayte Cable explains:
“I think they all dream of being able to go home one day.
But if they can’t, they would like to live a useful life here… and we want to help them do that.”
ABOUT THE CAMP
We’re taking the kids to Trill Farm, a 300-acre organic farm and education centre set among rolling hills and woodlands in Devon. Trill Farm aims to connect people with the land and runs a range of courses that inspire people to adopt a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
It also hosts a number of thriving independent enterprises, which work together, to use the lands natural resources and contribute to the farm’s educational programme. These include a vegetable garden, carpentry workshop, kitchen and community dining space, soap and natural beauty manufacturing business, herb garden and beef and sheep business. All follow the highest standards of organic practice, protecting and conserving the environment and wildlife of the farm.
WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE?
For these young refugees, the summer camp will be an opportunity to get out into the countryside and explore another part of the UK. Most of them never leave their immediate location because of cost and strict safeguarding rules.
While at Trill Farm they’ll get to try their hand at carpentry, pottery, cooking, organic gardening and a range of outdoor activities and of course, practice their English.
It will also allow them to build their social support network. This is such an important factor – as school holidays can mean long periods of isolation, especially for those with little confidence in their language ability.
This camp is their chance to have a real break and relax with friends while also enjoying the well-documented therapeutic benefits of being in nature.
We know this camp will have a significant positive impact on their mental health.
SUPPORT THIS PROJECT
Trill Farm has offered to fund half the cost of the camp. But we need to raise the rest. Please support our crowd fund appeal and help us give these young refugees a summer to remember.
MANAGING YOUR DONATIONS
This project is being supported by Elmbridge CAN - an established community group which aims to build a culture of welcome to refugees within the local community, and work to achieve the settlement of more refugees in the Borough of Elmbridge.
Elmbridge CAN also runs a Refugee Support Fund. Any excess donations raised through this crowd fund appeal will go to the Refugee Support Fund to support the needs of refugees in Elmbridge and the surrounding area.