New programme offers therapeutic support to young refugees

refugee counselling

We are excited to announce the successful funding of a new project which will research and pilot ways for children and young people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds to engage with and access counselling. The project aims to increase understanding of the barriers faced by displaced young people to participate in therapeutic support.

The project will be delivered in partnership with North East Solidarity and Training (N.E.S.T.), a student-led project from Newcastle University Students’ Union that aims to educate, empower and integrate members of the forced migration community in the North East.

The research has been made possible thanks to funding from British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It will also allow the team to deliver a pilot programme of 1-2-1 counselling services, group sessions and resources to refugee and asylum-seeking young people who are facing the challenges of rebuilding their lives, integrating into new communities and overcoming trauma.

Those accessing the pilot programme, which will begin in early 2023, will also benefit from N.E.S.T’s expert understanding of the support landscape and be helped to access further opportunities.

The project is currently engaging young people to work with and already has a group keen to support the project, which includes young people from Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan who have been recently displaced from their home countries by war.

Jeremy Bacon, Third Sector Lead at BACP comments: “This pilot grant scheme, part of our priority strategic focus on improving equality, diversity and inclusion in the counselling professions, is a new initiative for BACP.

“It’s provided opportunities to reach out and engage with organisational members interested in improving access to therapy for people from marginalised and racialised community backgrounds.

“BACP is pleased to be funding this work to improve understanding of structural and cultural barriers to psychological support and provide evidence in support of increasing access to therapy.”

The team intends to pilot approaches to promote access to mental health support services among young members of refugee and asylum-seeking communities by utilising listening to those with lived experience of forced displacement and the experience of youth-led N.E.S.T., as well as tools such as translation technology to develop new support materials.

Luke Bramhall, Head of Youth Services and Poverty Proofing at Children North East comments, “We understand the complexities attached to lived experiences and cultural norms of the refugee and asylum-seeking community, and we want to be able to adapt the ways our counselling service works to increase its reach into this community.

“We respect the depth of work delivered by N.E.S.T within our community to ensure the best possible outcomes for those who are at the most vulnerable points of their lives.

“N.E.S.T is recognised for its outstanding collaborative working approach and resilience to inform and facilitate meaningful change, and this project is an opportunity to bring together our organisations’ expertise to add value to both.”

The project will run until May 2023.