Crèche for child refugees in Bristol urgently needs 'vital funds'

The crèche gives children access to outdoor space, play equipment and opportunities to socialise, when many live in temporary accommodation Credit: Bristol Refugee Rights

A crèche that helps child refugees and the infants of asylum seekers in Bristol has launched an appeal for 'vital funds'.

The Early Years Project holds a twice weekly crèche and family support classes for those who have have arrived in the city after fleeing from abroad.

Run by Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR) in Barton Hill, the crèche allows these children opportunities to socialise, enjoy using play equipment and get outdoors - something many asylum seekers may struggle with due to living in temporary accommodation.

The organisation says many refugees face challenges with housing, childcare and "the balancing act of parenting within the asylum system", all of which BRR can help to alleviate.

But the charity says it needs to raise funds from the public to continue to provide this "crucial" support to these families.

'Children literally have no space to play and be heard'

Head of Operations for BRR, Alice Cutler, said: "We need to raise £15,000 to keep our services going.

"We provide a free crèche for families who are seeking asylum. And many of those live in temporary accommodation, which is very crowded, could be in a hotel room. And those children literally have no space to play and just be heard."

Each year, the Early Years Project supports around 115 pre-school children in Bristol.

Staff at BRR's creche enable children to gain confidence, to access learning, and to get used to British culture Credit: Bristol Refugee Rights

As well as providing a physical space for these infants to play, the crèche also tackles some of the difficulties many of them may face due to traumatic beginnings to life and the hostile environment people seeking asylum are subjected to.

Many of the children the crèche sees have delays in language acquisition, attachment issues, problems trusting staff and other needs, according to staff at the Early Years Project.

But professionally trained and multi-lingual staff at the crèche can help these toddlers to trust again, have more confidence and get used to British culture, as well as introduce healthy foods.

This allows these children to "develop the communication, confidence, language and physical skills they need to close the gaps between themselves and their peers and to be able to successfully access nursery or primary education," BRR added.

BRR also aims to help adult asylum seekers and parents, as well as their children. Last year, the charity supported 840 people from at least 53 different countries, who spoke more than 30 different languages.

On mornings when the crèche runs, parents can access free English classes, wellbeing support and an advice service.

Parents are also supported by Bristol Refugee Rights, with twice-weekly free English classes and wellbeing support Credit: Bristol Refugee Rights

'You can transform the lives of asylum seekers by supporting our appeal'

The charity's fundraising campaign has so far raised around about half of the money it needs, with more than £8,000 donated on it's Just Giving page.

On the page, the charity said it "needs your support".

"Our crèche and family support is a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable children in our city, many of whom have suffered significant trauma. Positive interventions during pre-school Early Years can have a substantial impact on creating more positive life chances for the children who receive our support," it wrote.

"You can transform the lives of asylum seekers and refugee children by supporting our appeal," the charity added.