It’s Christmas. You feel a million miles from what you remember as home. You are alone, separated from your family. You’re living in a hostel and you’ve already been moved twice. You can’t speak English very well and this makes you shy of striking up conversations or being able to ask for help. It’s cold. Everyone around is celebrating and the streets are full of colour and light. This just makes you feel even more alone. The hope you needed for the struggle to get here is ebbing away. 

For young asylum seekers and refugees who are navigating a new life in the UK, this is the harsh reality of the holiday season. But it doesn't have to be. 

In our youth club, The Station, we bring together young refugees and asylum seekers and build community. Our youth workers are here for young people, providing guidance, emotional support and friendship. Our inclusive and nurturing space is welcoming, bringing young people joy. 

Make a donation this Christmas and help children and young people have a first holiday season in the UK that is caring and welcoming. 

Young asylum seekers and refugees in the Forest of Dean on leadership training

Z.B.'s Story*

Since arriving in the UK on my own in early 2021 after fleeing war in Afghanistan, my life has completely changed. I've had a lot of new experiences - some exciting, some really scary. Creative Youth Network has been here for me every step of the way. 

My brother also came to the UK but we’re not able to live with the same foster carers. The Station is one of the very few places we can both go to spend time together. 

I was sad for a long time at the beginning, and it was difficult to talk to people, even here.

I'm Muslim and Eid al Fitr means a lot to me. It's the end of Ramadan and I remember while I was growing up, we would get together with my big family to celebrate it. Over here I thought I wouldn't have that this year. I was really sad about it. And then Creative Youth Network put on a celebration at The Station. 

When I came in, there was food I recognised, and blankets on the floor just like there are at home. We played the drums and we danced, and we ate together and I got this feeling that I'm welcomed, that there are people here too who care about who I am, where I come from and respect my culture. 

I don't know much about Christmas, but that's what every celebration is about, isn't it? I don't have my whole family here with me, but at least I know I can come to The Station and feel like that, cared for and welcomed. I hope that's what my first Christmas in the UK will be like. 


Z.B.'s youth worker said: 

Before Eid Feast, I’d never seen Z smile before. He was withdrawn and very worried. After the celebration, he came straight to me and started asking me questions, being chatty. It's just incredible to see Z open up like that. 

Eid Feast showed Z that The Station is his community, that we embrace his culture, and we are creating a safe environment for him to be himself and make friends. 

We will do the same at Christmas: ensure young people are connected and feel the magic of the festive season, in our big welcoming family.

*ZB's Story is based on the stories of countless young people who we help through our services. Due to the sensitivities surrounding young people's lives, we maintain anonymity and confidentiality by not providing identifying details on young people we work with.

There are many young people struggling and suffering when arriving in the UK after long dangerous journeys. It is crucial young people seeking sanctuary have support from trusted youth workers. 

This Christmas, can you help ensure children and young people's experiences in the UK are welcoming and caring?

Your donation can help provide youth work sessions, wellbeing support and advice.

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