Support for Refugees & Asylum Seekers

As well as being able to access our wider support services for BME people across Sandwell, we offer specific support, advice and guidance for asylum-seekers and refugees. French speakers and other languages are available on request. We can also offer support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers to access Health services where there are barriers to doing so.

Through collaborative work, SYIA aims to contribute to a more equal, regionally responsible Sandwell with cohesive communities to make a Sandwell welcoming place of safety where rights are enjoyed and asylum seekers and refugees can thrive. The organisation aims to sustain engagement with the local Government, UK Government and public decision makers to ensure policies have a positive impact on the lives of asylum seekers and refugees and their integration in Sandwell communities, It also aims to promote understanding of asylum and refugee rights and issues and enable asylum seeker and refugee voices to be heard.

Increasing Awareness for the Wider Community

We offer a range of services aimed at increasing the awareness of the wider community about race, ethnicity and diversity issues. We deliver specific educational programmes aimed at young people; training programmes for professionals and awareness raising campaigns aimed at the wider public.

Our educational programmes for children and young people can be delivered in a variety of formats to adapt to different age groups, time-scales and issues. All of these workshops can be adapted in different formats, e.g. a Classroom-based lesson; whole school Assembly; half-day or one-day session.

Topics include:

Understanding Islam and Islamophobia

  • Challenging Racism and Hate Crime
  • Challenging Racism and Far Right Extremism
  • Understanding different types of Extremism
  • Diversity & Multiculturalism in Sandwell
  • Identity, Multiple Identities & Citizenship
  • Asylum-Seekers, Refugee & Migrants
  • Working with BME communities
  • Working with BME young people
  • Understanding Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

This will be the opportunity to include and discuss some of the world hot and sensitive topics such as Islam, Syria, ISIS, Online Safety, Racism, Global Politics and Personal Identity as they are often highlighted in our national news. We will encourage young people to take the lessons learned from the discussions into their everyday lives. We are hoping to see a diverse group of young people making such positive change in their families, schools and communities as a result of our activities. The discussion forum will be a programme of fun and discovery involving local young people from various cultural backgrounds to make extraordinary friendships, learn the skills they don’t teach them in class and create unforgettable memories in order to promote community cohesion and tolerance between young people who are divided by cultures, religion and disadvantage and creates a network of young people who are moved away from potential routes to hatred and crime and towards more positive community involvement. Our organisation is the first step through which young people will explore identity, culture, community and stereotype, building bridges with other communities that they are often taught to mistrust, or even hate, through entrenched community beliefs or by the media. The group is all about creating opportunities for sharing good practices, dialogues or discussions about how to build on community cohesion and increasing involvement of young people in interfaith activities.

Examples of projects on offer at SYIA under the Youth Together Programme

  • Resilience Project

A project that supports young people at risk of Islamist and Far-Right Extremism and Sexual Exploitation.

Specifically, the above topics will be delivered by organizing “Come Together”- events on a regular basis for more informal and constructive discussions between refugee young people and other community young people. Topics will include “Freedom of Expression”, “Hate Speech”, “Freedom of Religion”, “Treat others as you would like them to treat you”, “Cutting through every Type of Prejudice” and “Celebrating what Makes us Different from Each Other.

  • The Belonging Project

Increasing the participation, aspirations, and sense of belonging of children and young people

We will listen to constructive stories which bring about changes in attitudes and common understanding of community cohesion values. Take part in drama and talent shows (e.g. art work such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, videoing with the aim to produce a short project documentary DVD to give away at the end of each event and also share through social media.

Dance workshops, poetry around themes of community cohesion will be performed as well as organising community sport/play events around the theme such as “Diversity Game” to support young people who may be experiencing loneliness or cultural and social isolation, prejudice, rejection as participants will be predominantly African immigrants coming into the UK, where English is not their first language and don’t have access to community networks they can turn to for support, information or advice.

Meet regularly to share community foods and encouraging positive public speaking, conversations around similarities and differences in faith; play competitive quizzes; organize books-reading competitions; watch educational films together and promote other common interest informative and amusing aspects of daily life such as jazz nights, poetry nights, open mic events; drive discussions around the key issues and challenges relating to the role of faith, religion and pluralism in the world today; interactive events such as discussing topics on struggles and challenges faced by Ministers; How can I help others when I need help and why churches conflict with each other; organizing workshop setting educational and careers goals; how to start a business; improving spiritual and prayer life; Why should I care about success/God-workshop/events; all ages events giving convincing answers to tough questions; female empowerment event such as the lady in the mirror i.e. self-reflection and setting the inner youth free).

  • The Think Project

This is a project that tackles and challenges racism and far-right sympathising views in young people, using an open dialogue approach.

  • Refugees Contribute

A project that engages refugees and asylum seekers in volunteering.

  • Progression Project

This is a project that helps marginalised young people aged 16 to 30 into sustainable

employment through  peer-led support.

    • Young, Migrant & Sandwell

This is a project that engages with young people from diverse backgrounds in researching and documenting their own experiences of coming to and living in Sandwell.

      • Refugee & Asylum Advice Project

This project offers a daily advice service for young refugees or asylum seekers (including unaccompanied minors, care leavers) in Sandwell.

      • Local Communities Youth Sport Trust Project

This project uses sport to engage and empower young people to play a greater part in their community.