You’ll have plenty of opportunities to have fun experiences in the UK like going to the cinema or, maybe, ice-skating, playing football or just going to youth clubs with your friends. There are also a lot of organisations called Refugee Community Organisations where you can meet friends from your country. You can search for them on Google by entering “refugee community organisations” and your area or ask your foster carer to look for them.
You will find many people from all over the world in the UK- especially in London and other big cities. You can also meet people from your country, if you want to, in refugee community organisations and in places of worship (prayer) such as churches, mosques and temples. Ask your foster carer or social worker to help you find them or google them.
If you feel like you’d love to eat a meal from home, you can also do this. There usually are shops where you’ll find all the ingredients needed to cook delicious food from home. Ask your foster carer to take you there. If there are none in your local area, you may be able to order online. Your foster carer or social worker could help you do this.
All children – that is anyone who is under 18 – are required to go to school. There, you will learn many subjects, including English. It is really important to learn English. It will help you progress with your education and feel more confident.
Your foster carer will enrol you into school as soon as you arrive. If they can’t find you a place, your foster carer can contact your advisory teacher for help with this or ask them to provide tuition at home for a bit. If you are in year 11 or under (up to 16 years old), your advisory teacher will help your foster carer find you a place within 20 days. In addition to going to school, ask your advisory teacher to check for extra classes in English to help you make quicker progress.
If you are a bit older than a year 11, you will be enrolled in college where you will be placed in ESOL classes. These are English classes. Before you can choose a career of your choice (study something you want), you will need to complete all your levels of ESOL from Entry 1 to Entry 3 in four areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The quicker you complete all your levels, the quicker you can progress onto a career of your choice.
If you are over 19 by the time you move onto vocational training (learning a trade/ a skilled job at college), you need to check your funding options.
If you are an asylum seeker and want to go to university, there might be bursaries (payments made to enable you to access education) and grants you can apply for. Please check Hope for the Young , Refugee Support Network and Article 26 for bursaries. If you have discretionary leave to remain, you might be entitled to help from Student Finance England. For advice, contact Just for Kids Law , CCLC Migrant Children Project or RSN.
You will have two main plans while you are in the care of social services and in receipt of leaving care support. Those plans are very important as they describe how social services are going to look after you. The first plan is your care plan which is written when you first arrive in care. It is based on an assessment of your needs. The second plan, the pathway plan, will be written when you are 16. It is a plan that looks to meet your needs as you grow and move towards independent living. Both plans will make sure that all your needs, including immigration, heath, education, accommodation and financial needs are provided for. You should always keep a copy of your plan and have them reviewed regularly. You can also request a review of your plan before the agreed time if your circumstances suddenly change or if you are not happy with certain aspects of your plan. You can also ask for help from an advocate with challenging anything you are not happy with. Both plans should be given to you in a format that is easy to understand and, if possible, in your language.
If you find it hard to sleep, you could try sleep packs: