Venda is open to boys and girls. Most attendees are boys and so we now also run a girls’ group. Through Venda, the staff and volunteers build relationships with the young people and get to know their needs. Our staff work closely with other professionals (such as social workers) to best support our young clients. Parallel to this, the youth service provides 1:1 support on a range of matters such as immigration status, health, wellbeing, and housing. Our young clients have access to our other services such as our education and employment service and our donated bike project – which provides clients with a reconditioned bike, helmet, lights, and lock.
Asylum Welcome also runs a popular football club in collaboration with Refugee Resource and Oxford United in the Community. Meanwhile, we are hoping to establish a cricket club, in response to requests from young Afghan clients.
Our young clients have opportunities to volunteer and to provide peer-to-peer support to new young arrivals, and we have also supported young people to establish their own initiatives. This has included supporting Eritrean care leavers to organise their own football group by helping them develop terms of reference, apply for funding, and learn about risk assessments and safeguarding.
The girls’ group runs every few weeks and takes place on Fridays. The sessions provide mutual support and social activities including indoor/outdoor games, cooking sessions and art activities, as well as trips to the cinema, bowling, crazy golf, and walks and picnics in the park. Like with Venda, the activities are shaped by what the girls want to do.
We also work with the girls on a 1:1 basis and do casework. In addition, we do outreach work such as running the group at City of Oxford College.