There are currently many hundreds of asylum seeking children and young refugees in the care of Kent County Council.
All of them have made a very difficult journey to get to Britain; huge numbers of them are fleeing from war, terror, hunger or despair, and many of them have experienced trauma such as we can hardly imagine. At a young age, they have lived through situations nobody should ever have to face.
Kent County Council is doing a great job, and has managed to find foster homes for all the girls, for the boys under the age of 16, and for a very few boys aged 16 and 17 who have particular needs.
By far the biggest group of unaccompanied child asylum seekers, however, are boys aged 16 and over. These young people usually pass through a reception centre first, where their health, educational and social skills and needs are assessed. After that, if they stay in Kent, they are placed in rented accommodation (a room in a shared house) in various parts of the county, where they live “in the community” while their asylum application is processed. That can take a long time, during which the young people have very little money, are not allowed to take paid employment, may have only limited access to education, and therefore need our help and support.
We have set up our volunteer group to give additional support to the boys aged 16-17 while they are in the Ashford reception centre, and then afterwards when they are living in the community. We aim to help and supplement the activities and facilities already provided by the Kent County Council staff, and we work in partnership with them.
WE AIM TO EXTEND A SINCERELY WARM WELCOME TO THESE YOUNG PEOPLE AND TO HELP TO GIVE THEM HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.
Registered Charity no. 1167921
Recently the boys from the reception centre were invited for a friendly game of football to Cranbrook School. As you can see, the weather was perfect and they had a fantastic afternoon! Many thanks indeed to Cranbrook School for hosting such a very enjoyable occasion.
Over the Christmas season, Kent Kindness received two generous donations for which we are most grateful.
The Henhurst Trust donated £750.00.
A sing-song was held in Sandhurst, which raised £170.00 for Kent Kindness.
All at Kent Kindness appreciate these gifts and all the donations we receive, not just for their monetary value (which of course is very useful!) but most of all for the support for the young refugees and asylum seekers which they represent.
This is our new Kent Kindness Certificate of Participation, issued to boys when they leave the Reception Centre. It will be a positive recognition of the work they have done, and a reward to them for starting back on the path to education and development of skills. This idea has already gone down very well with the boys!
In addition to the work we do in the reception centre, Kent Kindness is involved with a number of projects in the world of education and information, often in partnership with other organisations and groups.
- Producing and piloting a course aimed at the gentle relief of the distressing symptoms of trauma – the particularity of the course is that it is for those with only a relatively simple knowledge of English.
- Working on printed material explaining the basic life skills needed to live in the UK (the asylum process, health care, basic rules of courtesy etc).
- Setting up an educational drop-in “clinic” to support young refugees and asylum seekers in their school and college courses.