After18 was founded in 2013 in response to the number of unaccompanied children in Leicester who were asking for support when they turned 18.
Children and young people have been travelling to the UK, without their family, fleeing war and persecution in their home country. They arrive bewildered, traumatised and anxious, living alone in an unfamiliar place where they may not speak the language or understand the culture.
Through reaching out and assisting them to access mainstream services, we were able to listen and work with them to develop our services. They have shaped our education project and identified the need for a young women’s group.
We now have around 180 young people using our services each year.
Turning 18 is extremely significant for unaccompanied children as it marks the boundary between childhood and adulthood.
As children can not be returned to an unsafe place, they are allowed to remain in the UK while they are a child but some young people may be expected to return to their country when they turn 18. Those who are allowed to stay must learn how to adjust to living as an independent adult alone in the UK.
After18 works to support young refugees to transition to adulthood and prepare for their future “After 18” by providing specialist information, emotional and practical support and a wide range of educational and social activities.