The Folkestone Learning for Life and Outreach project aims to support the young people we work with to live happy, healthy and successful lives, and to facilitate them to integrate into the community through community engagement and outreach work. We are based with the Folkestone Youth Project: The Shed (Network Rail Land), Bradstone Avenue, Folkestone CT19 5AQ

Most of the young people we work with live independently in the community. This can cause them to be very isolated. Simple things like putting the bins out, or resolving small disagreements with neighbours can prove very difficult and frustrating. We aim to give them the life skills they need to be able to be safe emotionally and physically, and to access education successfully. Some of the skills we teach include time-keeping, budgeting, problem-solving, conflict-resolution, cooking, food hygiene & healthy relationships.

We hold sessions at our hub in Folkestone Monday to Thursday mornings providing structured lessons for those not yet in Further Education or School and educational support for those attending college part time. We are able to provide additional accredited short courses such as ASDAN and Food Hygiene training and support young people accessing further training such as Employability courses and obtaining a CSCS card. We use various local kitchens in partnership with local businesses to improve the cooking skills of the young people and participate in many catering events throughout the year. We have a drop in and pastoral care service that operates 5 full days per week and a team of dedicated volunteers and mentors who support the young people in many ways – from assisting in the classroom, accompanying to appointments and giving advice about shopping and budgeting to general conversation or being a friendly listening ear.

Our community outreach program has worked in a variety of ways to help integrate our young people into the community and to build understanding of refugee issues locally. Just some of the ways we have done this are:

Working with schools on activities to promote understanding of the lives of our young people and the push factors that brought them here.

Catering events including a pop-up Afghan restaurant, various outside catering opportunities, and a community barbecue on the beach where we served lunch to over 100 people.

Supporting our young people to engage with a wide-range of sporting activities including the local park run, horse-riding, boxing, basketball, badminton, tennis and cricket. We also have two teams in the local six-a-side football league.

Working with the local arts centre to give our young people access to plays and drama workshops.

Collaborations with theatre and dance companies such as the Ragroof Players to organise community events like the mass dance-off ‘Happy Feet’

Partnerships with local businesses to give refugee young people the chance to gain work experience and part time employment in a supportive environment

We are always looking to develop our services to meet the needs of the young people we exist to serve.