This Summer ‘Feels Like Christmas’ - Refugee Council
blogs  |  August 5, 2019

This Summer ‘Feels Like Christmas’

Hamish Murphy, a Project Worker in our Hertfordshire Resettlement team, describes a fun- filled few months for the refugee families we support there.

‘This Summer ‘Feels Like Christmas’: This was what Samer had to say soon after having arrived in the UK this past month. He certainly wasn’t referring to the near scorching weather of late, but the sense of excitement and fun he was having since coming to the UK; and certainly this summer we’ve been doing our best to make it jam packed with all sorts of fun-filled opportunities for all of our clients.

It all kicked off with Refugee Week, back in June, where we had an event for all of our families in Hertfordshire. The food was prepared by Bassel, a client who has gone on to set up his own food catering business. Then there was a special guest in the form of a local Syrian singer, who, singing a panoply of classical renditions, quickly whipped everyone into an all dancing, all clapping, all singing frenzy. To top it off there was a therapist called Moyna who specialised in Neuro Linguistic Programming (a form of self-care, well-being therapy aimed at improving self-esteem) who ran a couple of sessions for the families, all of whom found it really helpful.

Since then it’s been a struggle to keep up with all the activities. The question is where to start? For the teens aged 14-17, there’s been the National Citizen Service (www.ncsyes.co.uk) and Our Second Home (www.oursecondhome.org.uk) programmes. For the younger ones still there have been Football Academies and programmes like Fit, Red and Fed, which aims to engage those aged 7-13 with more physical activity and healthy eating while also working to improve their literacy skills.

There has also been the ongoing activities of the Future Leaders group for young women (14-22), with netball, tennis, university field trips, pottery classes and picnics all planned for the summer ahead. Further to this, a couple of the group members were accepted onto The University College London (UCL)’s summer programme.

The young men’s group (15-22) also have been having their fair share of opportunities, including a trip to Lee Valley Park, to take part in white water rafting. Luke Hickey, the project worker accompanying the group commented that: ‘on one occasion we were very close to capsizing the boat, but by the last run they had made a huge improvement and everyone was learning the value of team work; relaying the guide’s instructions between one another, prompting the guide to say ‘they’re doing my job for me’ ‘.

Lastly, not to leave out the adults, there’s been the women’s group and a host of ESOL for driving courses run across the county. To top it off, 25 women got the opportunity to go on a field trip to Forty Hill Vineyard in Enfield, which was aimed at improving their mental health through activities like a picnic, yoga, meditation, gardening and communal cooking.

So all in all it’s been a pretty Christmassy Summertime!