Dost was founded in 2000, to provide support to young refugee and asylum seekers, many of whom are in the UK without their families. In recent years we have also extended our services to recently arrived young migrants. We are now almost 16 years old, around the age of many of the young people we work with and our relationship-based model of support means that we really live up to our name, which means ‘friend’ in several different languages.
Just as a friend would, we treat everyone who comes to us as an individual and provide support that meets each person’s unique needs. In all cases, a major component of our work is therapeutic support to meet emotional needs, alongside advice and advocacy to ensure all of our young people also receive appropriate legal and practical support to help them improve their situations.
This year, due to changes in immigration legislation, age disputes, misinterpretation of the Leaving Care Act 2000, as well as some children and young people falling through the cracks because they have been overlooked or don’t understand (or have help to understand) the system, we have seen an increasing number of children and young people facing emergency situations. These include homelessness, lack of food and subsistence support and unsupported small legal fees. Many of our young people find that they are unable to afford travel costs to statutory appointments, which can put them in an even more precarious position.
As a response to this issue, Dost is developing an initiative to support young people with emergency provisions. The Dost Emergency Fund (DEF) will provide assistance with:
- Emergency food provisions
- Travel costs to appointments with statutory bodies
- Emergency Legal fees (under £75)
- Short term emergency accommodation.
These temporary provisions are only available to young people who are already, or will be, receiving support from a Dost Caseworker, while more sustainable financial support is secured by undertaking advocacy work with the appropriate organisations.
The DEF will provide short-term support for vulnerable young people, to address their immediate needs and is not intended as a substitute for regular subsistence support, nor is it intended to act as relief for those who have exhausted their legal rights to remain in the United Kingdom. However, the sharp increase in referrals for young people for whom the necessity to meet basic needs has become urgent means that we need to offer immediate financial assistance in order to be able to provide effective, longer-term holistic support to those who need it most.
As a charitable organisation, Dost relies on the generosity of our funders to enable our work. The Dost Emergency Fund will only be available as long as we have the funds to provide it. While larger donations are welcome, every little helps so if you would like to support us, head over to our JustGiving page where you can pledge a donation, or simply text DOST99 £3 (or the amount you would like to donate) to 70070. You can help us spread the word on social media with the hashtag #DEFDonation. Thank you for your support!