Learn2Live by Danielle Stone, Chair
Northampton Town of Sanctuary set up a youth club for unaccompanied asylum-seeking youth in 2016. The first wave of youth were Oromo and they helped choose the name of the club-Learn2Live, designed the T.Shirts worn by the volunteers, and helped design the programme, the rules etc.
These youth are now 24 years old and remain occasional and very welcome visitors and contributors to the club.
The club has over 100 registered members, nearly all boys, and the weekly club night attendance varies from 12-32. The present youth are from Sudan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia. Of course, the young people are moved around a lot, so we have ever changing cohorts.
The club provides a safe space for the youth to hang out, to engage in informal education, to meet English speakers and have an opportunity to practice their English. The club provides a cooked meal every week and group work sessions take place over the meal.
The club is supported by university students, some of whom have been with us for over three years.
Our recruitment for student volunteers takes place through STAR- Student Action for Refugees, and at Freshers week.
We run an annual residential at an out-door education centre and day trips when the funding allows.
Pre covid we ran an annual fundraising event- a barn dance where the youth hosted local people for a meal and then the dancing. During covid we applied for lots of small grants. We employed a part time youth worker who helped us deliver a number of projects:- A cycling project, walking English classes (outside in bubbles of 6), day trips, picnics and so on. We have delivered three Holiday Activity Fund camps, (HAF) programmes for 20 youth each programme. These programmes included, boxing, Bollywood dancing, bowling, drumming, sleep workshops, art activities as well as all the usual youth club activities. And of course, healthy eating. For the Easter HAF we linked with
Northampton Town Football club and the programme culminated in tickets for a match. The youth played on the pitch at half time.
In addition to all the above, L2L offers the youth support for fixing bikes, computers, mobiles. We accompany the youth to medical appointments if they want us to. We support their asylum claims.
We are keen to help the youth develop leadership skills, so they are encouraged to attend training on kitchen hygiene, first aid, young leaders’ courses. We employed some of the youth for the HAF programmes.
The youth take part in community events-A local festival, an annual youth conference, a community Eid event, a local Mela, the International Africa event.