The Supported Options Initiative aims to provide support and advice to young people (up to 30 years of age) and children in the UK who do not have regular immigration status or are undocumented. Many of these young people feel that they are unable, or for various reasons are unwilling, to approach organisations for help. There may also be only very limited options available through which they can seek to address their situation.
The initiative was established by the PHF Social Justice programme with support from US-based organisation Unbound Philanthropy, with the hope that, through innovative approaches, it may be able to help bring about the creation of trusted and reliable means through which these young people can seek help.
The Supported Options Initiative has been developed following research on young undocumented migrants. The PHF report, 'No Right to Dream', published in 2009, presents rare first-hand accounts from young undocumented migrants in England.
The £1,000,000 initiative includes support to seven pilot projects being undertaken by community organisations, law centres, and national children's organisations.
'Life Without Papers', a blog by award-winning photographer and writer, Len Grant, was commissioned by the initiative and launched in January 2013. It follows the daily lives of young people in Manchester who are living in the UK without papers.
In response to the complex and fast-changing legal and policy context, the initiative commissions occasional expert legal analysis. The first of these, written by Nadine Finch, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, is about routes to regularisation for migrant children and young people without legal status in the UK.
The initiative commissioned On Road Media to explore the potential of social media and digital technology to meet the advice needs of young people. 'Digital Undoc', an event held at PHF's offices in July 2012, brought together young people, grantees, youth, migrant and advice organisations with designers and developers, to come up with practical ideas that could improve support. You can read On Road Media's report of the camp process here.
The Institute of Voluntary Action Research has been commissioned to evaluate all aspects of the work from the beginning of the initiative. This will improve learning about how children and young people can be supported effectively, and what works will be shared with policy-makers and service-providers.
Click here for more information on the initial research, and to read the report.
If you have queries or need more information, please email Sarah Cutler, Initiative Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org