It is 7pm on Tuesday evening and the main hall of St. Ethelburga’s is already crowded. People are queuing at the reception desk, a mixture of excitement and curiosity in the air. Everyone is ready to join in the celebration of the “New Beginnings” project!
The celebration of The Forum’s Mentoring Project that took place on 24th of June, was a cheerful and lively occasion organised to share with friends and family the successes and positive results of the project itself, its mentoring scheme, weekly activities and one-to-one support.
However, it was much more than that. Indeed, it was a celebration of all the migrants, refugees and asylum seekers that are supported by The Forum, an opportunity to meet new people and build connections in an enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere, as described by many attendees.
During the evening people were welcomed by classical live music performed by Raja and Tillie, skilled musicians that have been part of The Forum and were then delighted by the performance of The Absentee, who played bluegrass, jazz and folk music, whilst guests enjoyed delicious home-cooked food, drinks and a brilliant Photographic Exhibition by James Russell Cant.
The event, supported by our partners Volunteer Unit of UCL Union and Live Music Now, was attended by around 120 people, provided an opportunity for Bamidele, who has been living in the UK since 2007, to share his challenging life story with the engaged audience. His positive and inspiring example of resilience and hope gave people the opportunity to have an insight into the life of asylum seekers and the hard challenges they have to face, which usually go unnoticed among the general public.
Nonetheless, our work has still a long way to go! We need to raise £5,000 to continue to support and enable migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to find both the emotional and practical support they need to face their numerous challenges and start a new life.
The New Beginnings Mentoring Project
Mentoring is our tool for combating isolation and loneliness. We use it to empower individuals and communities to tackle and overcome the hardships they encounter as migrants and refugees in London. We use it to impart skills and knowledge that will bring migrant communities forward and that improve social and mental wellbeing. We use it to build the capacity of people and groups so that they themselves can become active multipliers of change.
Besides offering one-on-one mentoring matches between trained individuals and refugees in need, the New Beginnings Project has grown around a core of services and activities that support refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who are isolated or need extra support to build confidence, access services and develop new abilities so that they can build happier lives in London.
These activities include: English and Mathematics classes; Social theatre workshop; Knitting and sewing classes; Digital drop-in classes; Support groups for women, men and young people and Cultural Fridays.
What We Need & What You Get
We need your help to keep creating New Beginnings for our people and their communities! The £5,000 we are raising is going towards our non-formal and alternative education activities budget, especially the Cultural Fridays.
These Cultural Fridays are weekly get-togethers comprising a portfolio of cultural and arts and craft skills workshops that strengthen the mental and physical wellbeing of our beneficiaries, many of which suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
We usually have 15 attendees at a time and we run 40 such events yearly, meaning that we have the potential to reach up to 600 individuals alone just through this aspect of our work. Every session costs us £150 and includes craft materials, refreshments, travel expenses and snacks for the attendees. We need to raise a total of £5,500 to be able to continue our Cultural Fridays this year. We have already raised £500 from our supporters and need your help to cover the rest.
In return for your generous support we are offering you the fruits of our work – our refugees will show you their appreciation and respect by sending you the items they have created during these Cultural Fridays.
Focusing on the mental wellbeing of refugees and engaging them in holistic activities that stimulate the mind and the body, helping them to be creative and innovative is essential for their integration and participation in society.
Our New Beginnings Project tackles feelings of loneliness and isolation stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder by offering activities that focus on mental health and wellbeing and that stimulate our beneficiaries to feel included and cared for.
We want to be able to continue our important work and grow our New Beginnings Project. This is where you can step in and make a difference!
Other Ways You Can Help
Every share, like and shout-out helps spread the word about our campaign and the work that we do. So please, help us reach as many people as possible.
Tell your friends, your family, your boss and work colleagues. Tell everyone you know and invite them to tell others.
Here is the link to our online platform: Empower a Refugee Platform
Thank you to all our partners, volunteers and friends who worked hard to make the event happen. Please continue to support our work as we cannot do this without you