For young people without families, Christmas can be a lonely time so the corporate parenting staff at Warwickshire County Council organised a Boxing Day party for over 27 of their young unaccompanied asylum seekers and care leavers.
For several months before the festive period staff from Children’s Safeguarding and Support teams across Warwickshire set about fundraising with charity bake-offs, a Santa Dash and raffles. One of the team, Calvin Smith a Service Manager in Children’s Safeguarding, raised over £1000 by doing a sponsored walk up Snowdonia. His sponsors promised to double their donations if he completed the feat wearing his Christmas jumper, socks, hat, and tie – so he did!
Guests were treated to a buffet lunch and presents were distributed afterward. Gifts included some practical items such as socks, hats, and toiletries, plus everyone received some chocolate treats.
Hassan Juma Abdullah and Aliza Deng Nyok Michar were two young people at the party who had both arrived in the country last year as unaccompanied asylum seekers from Sudan. Hassan Juma, a full-time maths and English student said: “It’s the first time I’ve been to anything like this and it’s been really great. I’ve met lots of new people and I love the party food – I’ve been up three times!”.
Aliza Deng Nyok Michar, an unaccompanied asylum seeker from South Sudan has been here for seven months after fleeing the country because of the civil war. She said:
“I am very grateful to the council who have really looked after me and are now helping me to find my family who are still in Sudan. It was good to meet the other people who have been on their own this Christmas and nice to know I am not alone”.
Jeff Morgan, Portfolio Holder – Children’s Services said:
“A huge thank you to all of our staff who volunteered to organise this party and fundraised to pay for it. It was great to get everyone together, at what can be a lonely time of year for some. I think they all enjoyed the lunch and presents and the chance to make some new friends. Warwickshire County Council and its teams will always help to support the most vulnerable members of society at Christmas time and beyond”.
More information about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Warwickshire can be found on the website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/uac