Canterbury, Folkestone, Ashford
Culturally Diverse Communities
Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) was established in 2003 to support refugees and asylum seekers in Kent. They support young people look after themselves, work with local education providers to ensure statutory education and run projects to link young people with local communities.
The Tackling Inequalities Fund was used to deliver a range of activities to increase engagement with those who had been isolating. KRAN consulted with the young people and gave out 19 sport packs to households so that they could organise their own activities. As the restrictions began to ease, KRAN started organising football sessions in partnership with Soccer Sixes in Ashford, Folkestone and Canterbury.
During the project period, 44 different young people engaged in the activities in Canterbury, 33 in Folkestone and 20 in Ashford.
- Football with Omarie Keita Football Academy as well as regular weekly sessions at Three Hills Sports Park in Folkestone; Pitchside in Ashford and Lifestyle Fitness in Canterbury.
- Basketball at the Shed in Folkestone and Canterbury.
- Running clubs with Ashford Athletics Club and training at the Julie Rose stadium.
- Cricket with local clubs in Folkestone and Canterbury.
- Cycling in Folkestone with Cycling UK and Bikeability sessions for road safety training.
- Walking and running health club every Friday and Wednesday in Folkestone and Canterbury.
KRAN supports young people who are vulnerable and have overcome trauma from home and on their journey to the UK. They do not have family and support networks when they first arrive in the UK. Accessing sports activities during the last four months has helped them develop networks of friends, have fun and learn new skills.
Working in partnership with local organisations to deliver the activities has increased organisations awareness and understanding of refugees and asylum seekers.
- In football, mixing players from different teams has created new friendships and positive relationships with their others.
- One young person with mental health issues, joined the football sessions and has since been able to access Strengthening Minds support in Ashford. (Strengthening Minds is another Tackling Inequalities Funding project which Active Kent & Medway were able to join up).
- A young Eritrean runner who joined the running club showed his abilities and has been supported to join specialist training opportunities to develop his talents.
- In Folkestone, matches are now being arranged with local cricket clubs after the young people were able to showcase their cricket abilities
Establish exit routes – Create pathways with local clubs for those talented participants who wish to develop their skills further. Through training and support young people have been able to learn new skills, develop their talents and progress to local clubs.
Link in with local services – Look into ways you can develop new partnerships with local charities, clubs and organisations. They can offer expertise, advice, facilities and support for the young people.
Develop Youth Ambassadors – Create role models with an understanding of different cultures and languages to engage new members. Staff find that working with established refugees and asylum seekers is invaluable in engaging new arrivals.
Due to the success of the project KRAN will continue to run this project to support future refugees and asylum seekers. They would like to connect with other local groups to organise joint events and tournaments. If this is something you could support please contact KRAN.