Working Together to Develop Resilience

Young people are under increasing pressure – research has identified social media and the exam system as some of the sources of this pressure. At Shpresa we work with young people who can face additional hurdles to feeling happy, staying safe and reaching their full potential.

Young people who came to the UK with their parents or who were born in the UK to Albanian speaking parents, may find it hard to negotiate the differences between their home life and their life outside the home as they grow older – they can feel stuck between two different sets of cultural expectations. They may also be living in poverty and their parents may be depressed and isolated.

At Shpresa we also work with young people who have come to the UK without their parents. These young people have had to flee to safety, many have been trafficked and others have fled violence as a result of blood feuds.  

In the UK life for an unaccompanied young person can be frightening. Their problems can range from not understanding their foster carer’s expectations through to living in fear of the traffickers finding them and once again exposing them to child sexual exploitation. Many young people desperately miss their mums, others do not know if their family are safe and some fear being found by their parents. Life in the UK can be bewildering and lonely. 

We treat young people holistically and as individuals. We recognise where their fear and anger comes from and we start from the premise that first and foremost they are children and young people who need to be kept safe and feel loved. We offer a wide range of services to help them feel less alone and to protect them from harm.

Our generic young people’s service offers all young people:

  • Sports activities including football and kick boxing to develop their confidence and physical fitness but just as importantly to simply give them a chance to have fun, away from the pressures of their daily lives

  • Individual casework, the Empower project, also delivered by an Albanian speaking worker based at Solace to provide specialist help to women currently subjected to violence and abuse 

  • Dance classes to develop skills and confidence – we encourage young people to perform at events, to increase their self worth and self esteem and so that their skills are recognised

  • Volunteering opportunities, because we know that the young people who use our services have the capacity to help others, including their peers, using their experiences to support those who are struggling with similar issues.

    See our work on Mentoring

'All of this experience has helped me a great deal, building my confidence, it has made me realise my potential. I have recently become Chair of Shpresa and to be honest I feel very proud. Sometimes I think I don’t do enough for this organisation which I believe does a fabulous job.

The staff and volunteers are the most passionate people that I have met’.


'‘It has been great to be part of Shpresa. We don’t get just activities to attend, we decide what we want and we are exposed at all the times to new opportunities. For me the training on Leadership has been great and very challenging and has enabled me to get involved at the “City safe” campaign and as a result of my involvement at the youth centre activities now I am playing a key role at mentoring in my school.’


Our work with Unaccompanied Minors

"Now I am not alone. This is my family and what they did for me I now do for someone else."
18 year old young woman trafficked for sexual exploitation from the age of 13,
who now volunteers with Shpresa 

Our dedicated service for unaccompanied asylum seekers offers additional services to those young people who are in vulnerable and precarious situations, frequently at risk of trafficking and abuse. We offer:
Come Dine with me our weekly meals service, where young people in the UK without family or friends, learn to cook and prepare food with women volunteers from the Albanian speaking community, and once the food is cooked everyone shares an Albanian meal in a warm and welcoming family atmosphere

Workshops for young people to help them understand their rights and responsibilities, as for those from another cultural background negotiating the immigration and care systems can be impossible, while the less confusing arenas of a British diet, school, college and friendship groups can still present challenges. We offer workshops on healthy relationships, the immigration system, education in the UK, healthy eating, anger management, human trafficking and the police and criminal justice system, giving young people the information and skills they need to make healthy and safe life choices
Skills development and accredited training, as for young people who have had severely interrupted educations, including those who have not been in school since the age of 12, GCSEs and other academic studies are not appropriate. We identify and provide opportunities for young people to learn, achieve and have their achievements recognised in a setting there they are valued and where their skills are nurtured
Therapy for those experiencing trauma and who need a space where they can safely begin to heal with skilled and experienced professional help
Mentors who can support young people through difficult times, offering friendship and guidance
Volunteer training because these young people have the resilience and the skills to become valued volunteers – we have trained young volunteers in presentation skills and as youth champions, when they are then able to share their story with social workers, foster carers, teachers and lawyers they can have a profound impact
Signposting to legal advice as some young people do not have a lawyer able to act for them while others require advocates to ensure their human rights are upheld. We support young people whose lives and well being are at risk to ensure they are not lost in a frightening and arbitrary immigration system. 

Youth Project EvaluationSee Timetable
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Shpresa Programme is a company Limited by Guarantee
registered in England and Wales Registration No 4692860 and registered as a charity
with the Charity Commission Charity No.1110688.