Who are we?

We are a small group of students who believe that a smile, a word or a good deed can change the world for the better.

Four years ago, a few teenagers from the Colchester SixthForm College gathered with a common idea: to help those who were forced to leave their homes, families, and friends and had settled in Colchester. Although the name came later, Friends Not Foes was born.

Throughout the years, many students joined us for different reasons. Some say that is their duty as humans to help others. Some describe the guilt that they would feel if they didn’t do anything. Above all, each of us wishes to help the way we would like to be helped if we needed it.

 

Friends Not Foes after winning a Colchester Youth Award, in the Special Awards Category

So what do we do?

We are aware that one of the biggest obstacles for someone to blend into society, is the Language Barrier. Filling in paperwork, passing a driving or a citizenship test, having a conversation with someone on the phone… can you imagine doing any of this in a foreign language?

This is why, every week, we offer conversation classes and driving theory lessons, where Refugees can come to improve their English, or study driving theory, supported by the students. We also provide help to refugees from local schools with their homework and their English, as their parents may not have the necessary language skills to assist them in their studies.

But this is not all, Friends Not Foes is working closely with the amazing Refugee Action-Colchester, and we assist them whenever they need help. We look after children when they hold Community Meetings (a monthly gathering where Refugees can come and have a nice time), we serve food and do the washing up at their Pop-Up Cafés… and much more! We also organise events and fundraisers (bake sales, clothes and resources collection…) and are involved in many ways with Refugee Action-Colchester’s community.

We have many plans for the future and are hoping to reproduce last year’s Successful Expedition to Calais raised by the second years, who spent a week helping out in a Refugee Camp in France. We are also planning on organizing a collection of clothes for L’auberge des Migrants (a French charity who takes care of migrants in Calais). We will, of course, be continuing our weekly Homework Club, and conversation classes! The important thing to remember, is that we are very resilient and adaptable. We try as much as we can to do what the community needs us to. 

If you are interested in what we do and want to find out more, please join one of our Tuesday meetings during the first half of lunch in room 638.