Twin brothers, Geoff and Immanuel, who were refugees from the Republic of Congo, arrived in Colchester. Their first language was French, not English and so they were unable to communicate well with their peers, teachers and support workers. They were both lacking in confidence and were quite isolated from young people their own age and from a stable, nurturing environment. In this setting, young people often despair, and can be vulnerable to all sorts of potential harm, such as crime, drug abuse and exploitation by others.
The boys joined AFiUK’s Saturday Youth Club, where they were able to make friends with other teenagers of their own age. This greatly improved their English language skills, and they also were able to develop new skills and improve on existing talents, forgotten when they first arrived as refugees. The Saturday Youth Club is a mixed club, for young people age 11-19 and provides a range of different activities and sports.
The outcome for AFiUK
Geoff and Immanuel have grown in confidence, acquired new skills and become valued members of the team. AFiUK invited them to develop their marketing skills and asked to create marketing leaflets for the club. They were also good at basketball and so we asked them to lead the youth basketball sessions. This has created in them both a strong sense of belonging and an understanding of what having responsibility for a group of their peers looks and feels like.
Immanuel says, “It has built my character; personally I have a lot more confidence speaking with bigger crowds and mainly working in a team than I did before. Secondly, it has increased my patience having to deal with certain situations, this has been from the workshops provided by our facilitators.”
The outcome for Essex PFCC
“The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s vision for Essex is to ensure that safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build success and well-being for all.”
To support this, they provide the Community Safety Development Fund for community projects that help to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Essex. By supporting Geoff and Immanuel at the AFiUK Saturday Youth Club, this has enabled two teenage boys on the brink of adulthood, to find a home and community within Colchester, protecting them as vulnerable young people, and ensuring their start here is a positive one.
Geoff says “[Working with AFiUK] has improved my confidence in leading other youths with a range of activities. The workshops have been really interesting and opened my mind to different possibilities and have changed how I deal with things on an everyday basis.”