Last Tuesday, Jess Strutt, the Community Development Team’s Youth Homelessness Development Officer, went along to the Freedom Youth Club in Leicester City to start a weekly drop-in service providing guidance and help to young people on housing, benefits and mental health services.
The Freedom Youth Club holds a variety of evening sessions twice a week for 13-19-year-olds, targeting mainly unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people and refugees.
I received my right to remain last week, I would like to know what my next steps are now, I would appreciate help to understand benefits and how to gain employment.Freedom Youth Club attendee
Jess arrived in time to meet some of the young people, including five new arrivals being signed up for sessions at the club. She was welcomed by the warm, friendly, and approachable volunteer staff who chatted and joined in playing games with session attendees.
The games included a pool table, table tennis and, of course, an obligatory fixture for any young person’s group: an Xbox! The walls of the club feature colourful designs and poems painted on by club attendees, offering a powerful and a stark reminder of the journeys that have taken them to the UK and the challenges and complexities of their current life in Leicester.
I have been in a shared house for over two years, I am not happy there. I do not understand the housing banding and I have been moved to band 3, could Jess help me with this?Freedom Youth Club attendee
Jess also got into contact with the Leicester YMCA about their “Move on Houses” shared-accommodation scheme and its links to refugee and asylum-seeking communities in Leicester. They will be coming along to the Freedom Youth Club’s next drop-in session.
I felt really welcomed into the group. It was great to be asked questions about the new drop-in service on the first evening. I am really looking forward to collaborating with the Freedom Youth Club!Jess Strutt, Youth Homelessness Development Officer, Community Development Team
This new project was made possible by the generous financial support of the Nationwide Community Fund.
We are honoured to work with Freedom Youth Club in helping them support refugee and asylum-seeking young people. We look forward to expanding vital services in the city and county that can empower the most vulnerable and marginalised members of our communities.
For more information about our work supporting young people with housing needs please contact:
Jess Strutt, Homelessness Development Officer, Community Development Team
To learn about our Power to Change approach, please click the following link: