12 July 2022

On Monday 4th July local education professionals, faith leaders, local authority and YMCA Crewe staff and volunteers gathered at YMCA Crewe on Gresty Road to celebrate the launch of our new Schools Resource Pack. Aimed at 11-16 year olds living in Cheshire East, the pack has been designed to help raise awareness and an understanding of the real stories of the Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children living in their local community.

The motivation to create the pack came from a need to find a way to share the real experiences of our residents with young people, to combat some of the stereotypes and myths we were regularly hearing. The resource contains a variety of information, activities and case studies to inform the learning of young people, but also to spark discussion with their classmates and teachers. We have ensured the pack has local context, and will use this to help young people to relate to the stories being told.

Much of the content was informed by discussions with local young people about what they want to know about Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children. Although it is a political issue, the pack isn’t politically driven, and isn’t a comment on any current situations regarding the refugee crisis. We want the pack to be accessible to everyone, and also to ensure the information doesn’t become irrelevant or outdated. The stories within the pack are anonymous to protect the identities of our residents.

The lesson plans within the pack have been designed by a local teacher, following national curriculum guidelines, to ensure they work for both young people and professionals. Although we will officially begin promoting the pack to local head teachers from September onwards, we have already received really positive feedback following the launch, with one local school committing an entire off timetable day in December to allow all their students to explore the pack.

We want to build a relationship with anyone using the pack so that we can begin a conversation around Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children. We want to hear the outcomes for young people, and provide any additional material needed to enhance their learning.

Although primarily aimed at schools, we’re also eager to see the resource used in non formal education settings, such as Scout and Guide Groups, sport clubs, and youth settings. We recognise that conversations had between young people change depending on their environment, and we want the pack to be an invaluable resource for anyone working with 11-16 year olds.

Having created the pack, we’re now in the process of looking for funding to allow us to adapt it for use with primary school children, and also to create a digital toolkit which can be adapted and used nationally.

The conversation around this pack, and its potential for creating change, is so exciting, and we can’t wait to see how it develops over the next few months. Together we can change the narrative around Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children living in our community.

To request a copy of the pack, or to discuss opportunities for supporting this project, please contact Lisa Cormack at lisa.cormack@ymcacrewe.org.uk.