“Supporting and empowering young people”


Table of contents

Copyright © 2022 HRSG All rights reserved.

Why This Booklet?

We are the authors of this booklet: young people who have come to England as unaccompanied asylum seekers a few years or a few months ago. Although most of us are now settled, we remember the beginning of our lives in England and all the difficulties we faced. We are writing this booklet to provide important information to young people who newly arrive in London seeking asylum. This booklet is our way of giving something back, and ensuring that newly arrived young people feel guided, supported and not alone in the local community.

What is in this Booklet?

The information is based on our daily experiences in the London Borough of Hillingdon as we try to integrate into the host communities. It is said experience is the best teacher, therefore, we believe our different experiences may be of value to you. This booklet is meant to guide you with information you are most likely to need at the start of life in England. It is the kind of information we wish had been available when we first arrived here. We hope that you find this guide useful.


HRSG is a charity that supports unaccompanied young asylum seekers and refugees in Hillingdon from all backgrounds and religions. HRSG is an Acronym. That is, each letter stands for a word!

Hope. Dignity. Empowerment.

Hope, Dignity and Empowerment are at the heart of what HRSG stands for and is integral to creating a safe and comfortable environment for refugees and asylum seekers to explore their options and work towards positive futures. The majority of these young people have experienced trauma and persecution and it is our aim to support them through this most difficult period of their young lives.

Hope. Dignity. Empowerment.

Visit www.hrsg.org.uk for more information

We arrived alone to the UK, had experienced conflict and suffered a lot of stress and trauma and fled countries where wars have taken place. On arrival here we have faced so many different problems like immigration, loneliness, missing family, language, lack of support, sadness, depression. HRSG tries to support us in many ways and address issues we face.

What does HRSG offer?

Emergency bags

Including items of warm clothing and toiletries. Most of us arrived in the UK with nothing and found these essential items very helpful.

ESOL, Maths and Life skills

Every Monday – Friday. both face to face and via zoom. We have benefited from these classes a lot because they have helped us improve our English and maths preparing us to pass our college exams and teaching us how to settle in the UK. You can also get more support from the ESOL, Maths and Life skills courses on the BHUMP website www.bhump.org.uk

Daily support

Daily support by appointment at Key House. Homework, CV writing, emotional support, form filling, interview and research skills, volunteering, letter and report writing, confidence, self-esteem building. Talk to BHUMP Staff. They are here to support you.

Recreational activities during the summer

i.e. football, group, and community activities. Meet with other young people from the local community, make friends, and get involved in different activities. Also, get help and support with homework or any other issues.

Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteering is a great way to engage your free time and get involved in the life of the community. There are plenty of

volunteer opportunities. Ask a BHUMP staff member for details

BHUMP Helping Hands (BHH)

BHUMP HELPING HANDS BHH: Pioneered by past BHUMPERS: Alan, Khalid, Ellena and Mamady. A great example of a young person led project. We are a group of young people who attend BHUMP working with staff to plan activities and sessions for other young people. You are welcome to come and join us and get involved with great ideas and help planning project activities. Have your voice heard. Meet and get involved in activities and volunteer with other young people from the community. Speak to a BHUMP staff member to get involved.


Asylum Seeker or Refugee?


While the Home Office deals with your asylum claim, you are considered to be an ASYLUM SEEKER and issued with an Application Registration Card (ARC).

You can use this card as ID to register at college and other services. But you cannot use it to find work! The card clearly states that employment is prohibited while you seek asylum.

If you did not get issued with this card at the airport, your Social Worker or Keyworker can make you an appointment at the Home Office in Croydon so, you can be issued with one.


You are recognised as a REFUGEE and are no longer an asylum-seeker if the Home Office makes a positive decision to your asylum claim. In this case you get issued with 5 years leave to remain and after these 5 years, you can apply to settle in the UK. If you receive A negative decision from the Home Office, your solicitor can assist you to appeal. You’re Social Worker or Keyworker will assist you in finding a solicitor who can support you with your asylum claim. The solicitor will see you for free because you are a minor.

London Weather


December – February: Winter can be very cold and grey. It can be difficult to adjust to this if you come from a sunny and warm country. You will need to wear warm clothes. In winter the days are very short and it can get dark from 4.00pm.


March – May: By early March there will be buds on trees. The days start to get longer and there is more sunshine. By May, the temperatures can get close to 20°C.


June – August: Very long days and more sunshine. Average temperature: 24°C, and with 7 plus hours of sunshine per day. London can feel very warm on sunny summer days. But not all summer days are sunny, so enjoy the sun while it lasts!


September – November: September can be a very pleasant month, with average maximum temperatures still 20°C, but nights can be cold. The leaves start to change colour and fall. The days start to get shorter and colder, leading to winter.

It is very important for you to learn to budget any money you have and save it for warm clothes, like gloves, scarf, hat, and a warm coat to wear during the cold winter months.

Your Keyworker & Social Worker

Your Keyworker can support you with the following:

  • Problems at your accommodation.
  • Help register you with local GP (doctor), dentist and optician.
  • Help register you in education.
  • Help find a solicitor who can support you with your asylum claims.
  • Accompany you to your first appointments.
  • Help you in gaining independent living skills, such as cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Have a meeting with you once a month, which is called a key work session. At this meeting, they will ask you some questions to find out how you are doing and if you need any support.

Your Social Worker can support you with the following:

  • Visit you every 4 – 6 weeks at your accommodation.
  • He/she has a duty to see you on your own and find out how you are. We advise you to
  • be open with your Social Worker and let her/him know any difficulties you are facing.
  • A Social Worker is responsible for completing your Care Plan or Pathway Plan with you and for making sure that everyone is following the plan in order to meet your needs.

Your rights as an unaccompanied minor

Local authority support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

YOU have the right to be safeguarded by the local authority (Hillingdon Social Services) in absence of your parents.

YOU have a right to be placed in ‘suitable’ accommodation that meets your needs. You have a right to voice your feelings and be heard. The location of the accommodation you are provided must not disrupt your education or your support network.

YOU have a right to access advocacy services, someone who can speak on your behalf. An advocate can ensure that your wishes and feelings are listened to. (At important meetings, for example).

YOU have a right to be provided with financial support. This can include travel expenses and educational help

YOU have a right to have your developmental needs met and the local authority should make plans on how they are going to support you with your:

• Health

• Education and training

• Emotional and behavioural development

• Identity (religion, racial

origin, culture, language)

• Family and social relationships

• Self-care skills

These plans should be included in your Care Plan and must be discussed with you.

During your asylum-interview at the Home Office, you have the right to be accompanied by an appropriate adult and to ask for a break when you need it.

YOU have a right to receive support in finding an Immigration Solicitor to advise you on your immigration matter. You are usually entitled to get this legal advice for free through applying for Legal Aid. Your solicitor will explain this.

YOU have the right to receive the same support as all other Looked After children and not to be discriminated against due to your race, culture, sexual orientation, faith etc.

YOU have a right to make a complaint if you are unhappy with the support you are receiving. Your Social Worker has a Duty to inform you about Complain Procedures, if you want to complain.

YOU have the right to have a personal education plan agreed by the Local Authority. This state’s how you are going to be supported to achieve your goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them.

If you are unsure about your rights or would like more information you can contact:


FREEPHONE: 0808 800 5792


EMAIL: help@coramvoice.org.uk

SMS: 07758 670 369

WEB: www.coramvoice.org.uk

What about Education?

In the UK, by law, any child under the age of 16 is expected to attend school. If you are under 16 years old when you arrive,

you are very likely to be placed with a foster family.

If you are 16 years or over when you arrive, you will need to register at a local college: Uxbridge College or West Thames College. Your foster carers and your Social Worker have a duty to register you at a local school.

Most of us had to enroll in an ESOL course to learn or improve our English, before we could enroll for other courses (such as engineering, for example). Your Keyworker and Social Worker will support you with registration.

BHUMP / HRSG – Key House, West Drayton also offers English, Maths and life skills classes during the week. You can be referred by your placement for English/ESOL tuition. BHUMP will accept referrals from social workers, keyworkers or carers as soon as you arrive. BHUMP also has a website www.bhump.org.uk where you can do ESOL. Maths and Life skills Curses and get other useful information.

You will find a huge range of reading, learning and entertainment resources including the dictionary at your local library and online. There is free Wi-Fi, computer and web access. Joining the Library is free. There is a library in most towns in the UK. Ask your Key Worker or a BHUMP staff how to join.

How can you Access Healthcare Services?

Your Keyworker or Social Worker will assist you in registering with a local doctor (GP), a dentist and optician.

You go to the GP if you have any problems with your health. Your GP can prescribe medication and can refer you to see a

specialist doctor in hospital.

The main hospital in the Hillingdon Borough is Hillingdon Hospital. It has an Accident & Emergency Department (A & E), where you must go if you have to be seen in an emergency.

You must have an eye-test at the Optician’s once a year as a Looked After Child. This is to ensure that you maintain a healthy vision. You will be able to have prescription glasses for free if you need them.

In case of life-threatening emergencies, you will need to call 999 and ask for the AMBULANCE. You will be asked over the phone about what the emergency is and about your address.

NHS 111 – for urgent medical concerns. If you are worried about an urgent medical concern, call 111 and speak to a fully trained adviser. For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist. You should always use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation

How to travel around

You need an OYSTER CARD to use the bus or train. You can get an Oyster Card from: Uxbridge Train Station and shops. some You must pay. A deposit means that you get the money back if you return the card. You also have to top up your Oyster Card with money in order to travel.

When using the train, touch IN and OUT, otherwise it will take too much money from your Oyster Card. When you travel by bus, you have to touch only once, when you enter.

If in College and full-time student, you can apply for a 16+ Oyster Card, with which you can use the buses for free and the trains at a good discount. T his card will have your photo on it and you are not allowed to give it to someone else to use. You must also not use anyone else’s 16+ Student Oyster Card. If caught doing so, you can get fined, up to £20.

The London Underground Rail Network or “The Tube” is a great way to travel to and from Central London and will be an important part of most people’s stay in the UK capital. It has many different lines to travel on. You can pick one up upon arrival at any London tube station. There are free maps and guides available to help you get around.

London Buses

  • Buses are an easy and cheap way to travel around.
  • You can’t pay bus fares with cash; you must use an Oyster card or contactless payment.
  • A single London bus fare costs £1.50.
  • Night buses run all night between the close of the Tube and the start of daytime bus services

How to ask the driver to stop a London Bus

Buses only stop at designated bus stops. They do not stop on request between bus stops. To ask the driver to let you off at the next bus stop, press one of the red buttons which can be found on the upright metal posts throughout the bus. You will probably hear a bell and see a “Bus Stopping” light appear at the front of the bus.


London Buses

Buses run often during the day and you normally won’t have to wait more than 5–10 minutes. Each bus stop has a letter at the top. Look at the timetable on the bus stop wall. If the same letter is listed next to where you’re going, you’re at the right stop. If you’re not, it tells you where to catch your bus. The final destination of the bus and the bus number is displayed on the front and side of the bus. Check this before getting on. Not all buses travel the full route.

Remember to ALWAYS have a valid ticket when travelling. You will be fined if caught travelling without one

Tips on Personal Safety

We all want to be as safe as possible when out and about. Here are some simple precautions you can take to prevent yourself becoming a victim of personal crime:

Be sure your foster carers, your keyworker or your friends know where you are and how to contact you. If possible, go out accompanied by friends and return home with them. Where possible, don’t walk around at night on your own.

Try not to go into areas where you have never been before on your own, especially at night-time. Stay in well-lit, crowded areas and do not take short cuts such as alleyways or wooded areas.

Do not accept a lift from someone you have just met (for example at a party) or from a stranger whilst out walking on the street.

Wherever you are, be aware of how to make an emergency telephone call (999) and the quickest way out.

101 is the number to call when you want to contact the local police – when it is less urgent than a 999 call.

When travelling on public transport, you are safest where there are other people, and where it is well lit. If you are at a bus station or railway station, try to wait in a busy area. Be aware that pickpockets and robbers operate on buses, trains and tubes; keep your personal property out of sight.

If you are on an empty train or on a bus, sit close to the driver. If someone makes you feel threatened, or uncomfortable, move to another seat or carriage. Try not to use badly lit bus stops.


Plan ahead. Before you go out, consider how you are going to get home. Can you travel home with a friend? What time does the last bus/train leave? Plan your route, know where you are going so you don’t have to ask for directions and accidentally end up lost.

When out and about it is important to protect yourself from thieves stealing your personal belongings; keep your mobile phone out of sight and not in your hands. If your phone is stolen or lost, call your network to get it blocked.

Keep your bag closed: if it is open an opportunist thief or pickpocket is more likely to see what you have and take it.

If you feel uneasy about someone who is walking ahead of you, cross the road to avoid them or change your direction

Stay alert! Leave your personal stereos, headphones, loud music off. They stop you being aware of or hearing what is going on around you.

Drink Spiking is when mind altering substances like drugs or alcohol are added to your drink without you knowing. It can affect the way you behave. Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know or leave your drink unattended. Take it with you if you can or appoint a friend as your drink watcher. Don’t assume soft drinks won’t get spiked– they do. If you think your drink has been spiked, contact the police on as soon as possible.

And finally, remember that carrying a knife or a gun is ILLEGAL IN THE UK and the courts will take firm action if you are found with either in your possession.

Keeping Personal Details Safe

Wallet: Carry only essential cards in your wallet. Limit the amount of cash you carry to a minimum like £10.

Bank Card: It is important that you don’t write your cards’ pin number down and leave it in the wallet your bag or anywhere. It is best to try and memorize the pin number which is easier when you change what the bank sent you to some number you remember well.

Cash machine or card reader: Cover your pin when paying by card or withdrawing cash. Use cash machines that are amongst a crowd or busy streets and avoid using cash machines late into the night.

Scam Calls: All calls are scam until they are proven genuine. Follow the following steps unless you are pretty sure you know the caller.

  • Never reveal personal details like: Pin, date of birth, address or account details
  • Hang up
  • Ring the organisation
  • Don’t be rushed
  • Ask for a phone number to call them back on if you’re unsure then Google the number to see if it’s a scam
  • Banks will send letters instead of calling you on the phone

Scam/Spam emails and texts: Do not open emails or click on any links in any emails from banks, shops or other institutions.

Tips for staying safe online

The internet is a great place to be creative and chat with friends. But with hacks, scams, catfishing, malware and more, it can feel like a dangerous place these days. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid these problems.

TIP 1: Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.

TIP 2: Think carefully about what you say before you post something online

TIP 3: Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.

TIP 4: Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.

TIP 5: Don’t befriend people you don’t know.

TIP 6: Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your Carer, Social/ Key Worker or BHUMP about people suggesting you do.

TIP 7: Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.

TIP 8: Never give out your passwords.

TIP 9: Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.

TIP 10: If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

TIP 11: Always sign out of accounts on computers you don’t own. You don’t want someone to be able to access your details, just because you once signed into Facebook in an internet cafe, or on a public computer.

Tips to protect your phone

We have written this page because recently some of us have lost or had our mobile phones stolen. For many of us this phone is our life, it has all our contact numbers, internet, TV, memories, photos. Please read this carefully to see how you can stop yourself from being a victim of mobile theft like us.

Don’t leave your phone unattended, out of your sight or left on a table – thieves can grab a phone from a table in seconds.

Always be aware of your mobile and your whereabouts and act accordingly. When you’ve finished using it, put it away.

Ensure you keep a record of your phone’s IMEI number. This is a 15-digit unique number you can get by keying in *#06#. You need this information if the phone is lost or stolen. Don’t keep a note of it on your phone as it defeats the object.

Use your device’s security features, apps or PIN locking mechanisms to protect your data and prevent the phone being used if stolen.

Immobilise it. Register for free on an accredited mobile phone database such as Immobilise. This helps police to identify you as the rightful owner.

Track it. Consider installing a free tracker app on your smartphone. They’re readily available online. If your mobile’s ever stolen, act fast.

LGBT Young People

All BHUMP services are inclusive for ALL young people and always provide a safe environment for them to be themselves and not feel at risk of bullying or harassment. BHUMP values and respects EVERYONE for who they are. In the UK law, everyone must be treated equally and with respect irrespective of their age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. Some of us are LGBT and we wrote this information to help others.

LGBT is a commonly-used abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. It may also apply to those people who are questioning their sexuality.

Straight – being ‘straight’ (or heterosexual) is when you are attracted to the opposite sex, i.e. a man being attracted to a woman, or vice versa.

Gay and lesbian – being ‘gay’ (or homosexual) means being attracted to people who are the same sex as yourself. The word “lesbian” is usually exclusively used for gay women, whereas the word “gay” can apply to both men or women.

Bi – bisexuality is when you are attracted to both males and females, and not exclusively to just one sex.

Transgender – is when you have changed your gender through gender reassignment surgery and become the opposite sex.

These organisations offer confidential advice, support and services, including helplines, for LGBT people.


Supports young LGBT people between the ages of 16 and 25 years old. They can help with finding LGBT mental health services.


GENDERED INTELLIGENCE works with the trans community, especially young people (8-25), and those who affect trans lives.


IMAAN is a support group for LGBT Muslims, providing a safe space to share experiences, with factsheets and links to relevant services.


LONDON FRIEND’S aim is to improve the health and mental well-being of LGBT people in and around


020 7833 1674


MERMAIDS provides support for families, teens and children with gender identity issues.


STONEWALL Empowers individuals in the UK and abroad by providing support and advice to help tackle discrimination and hate crimes.

020 7593 1850


THE TERENCE HIGGINS TRUST is a national sexual health charity that provides information and support on STI’s/HIV, and where to get tested. www.tht.org.uk

UK LESBIAN AND GAY IMMIGRATION GROUP (UKLGIG) is a charity that promotes equality and dignity for LGBT people who seek asylum in the UK, or wish to immigrate here to be with their same-sex partner.



Bullying can happen anywhere and be about anything. If someone physically hurts you or verbally abuses you, that is bullying.


  • Homophobic bullying based on your sexual orientation
  • Racist bullying because of your skin colour
  • Religious bullying because of your beliefs or faith.
  • Sizeist bullying referring to your body size
  • Sexist bullying focusing on you being of the opposite sex
  • Cyberbullying targeting you online, often anonymously
  • Bullying because you are different

Anyone can get picked on. Being bullied can make you hate going to school, and you can feel sad, lonely and worse. Remember, it is not your fault – you have the right to live without being picked on. You might feel there is no way out, but there are lots of ways to get help.


Bullying probably won’t stop unless you stand up and do something positive about it:

  • tell someone you trust. You shouldn’t feel bad about reporting someone if they are making you feel bad
  • act confidently to send out the message that you’re not afraid
  • strength in numbers: stay with others.
  • You’re more likely to be picked on if you’re on your own
  • keep a diary and all text messages as evidence of bullying – you can use it later to show that you’re telling the truth

Getting Help For Bullying

Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.

If the bullying is happening at college, talk to your Social/ Key Worker, or your teacher. Your teachers may have no idea that you are being bullied, and the college will have an anti-bullying policy to tackle it. If you feel you can’t speak to your teacher, maybe a friend can do it for you.

If the bullying is happening out of college, talk to your Social/Key Worker, or ask to speak to your BHUMP Youth Worker after the Monday BHUMP sessions or contact BHUMP on 01895434728

Helpline and services

CHILDLINE: www.childline.org.uk you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem big or small. Freephone 24h helpline: 0800 1111

Sign up for a ChildLine account on the website to be able to message a counsellor anytime without using your email address.

THE MIX: www.themix.org.uk Talk free to The Mix by phone, email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service, or get more information on support services you might need. Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (13:00-23:00 daily)

KOOTH.COM: www.kooth.com is an online counselling service that provides vulnerable young people, (11 – 25), with advice and support for emotional or mental health problems. Kooth.com offers a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way to access help.

Coping With Stress


  • Worried, Tense, Upset, Sad or Angry
  • Being bullied, Problems with friends
  • Worried about money, Immigration
  • Housing
  • Exams, College, Health


  • Feeling tired
  • Having problems sleeping
  • Not able to eat
  • Stomach aches, Headaches
  • Aches and pains in your body
  • You may be feeling sad
  • You may feel irritable
  • Lose your temper easily
  • Finding it hard to concentrate


  • Listen to music/ watch a film
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a friend
  • Exercise/ Gym
  • Write in a diary
  • Slowly count to 10 and take deep breaths
  • Talk to a GP/ Social worker OR BHUMP staff
  • Get help online- Remember online safety!!!

Other ways to reduce stress:

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Eat well
  • Breathe
  • Laugh

Helplines and Services:

Your social worker/ Your GP

EPIC FRIENDS: Mental health problems are common. This website is all about helping you to help your friends who might be struggling emotionally. www.epicfriends.co.uk

SAMARITANS: Provides a 24-hour service offering confidential emotional support to anyone who is in crisis. Helpline 08457 909090 (UK) or e-mail: jo@samaritans.org

Loneliness and Isolation

Feeling alone is one of the biggest problems we faced on arrival to the UK. We came here after fleeing war, torture and persecution and had to re- build our lives and try to become a part of our new community. This was very challenging and difficult as some of us were unable to understand or speak English, and also arrived here completely alone. This made us feel lost, sad and very lonely, homesick, thinking about our families and friends and wondering where they are.

Loneliness can make us feel down. And if you feel like this, you can get help. There are several local organisations listed in this leaflet starting on page 47 who can help support you during this difficult period.

Everyone has feelings of loneliness and isolation from time to time. Of course it does not feel good and can lead to other feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. Here are a few tips that really helped us.

Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. As hard as it may seem, try opening up to someone close to you and sharing with them what you are going through. By sharing your feelings you will find that people really do care about you and are there to help you through your difficult time.

It’s Good

to Talk

BHUMP can help: Sports, recreational activities, outings, meeting new friends, listening, talking, and finding you help.

You can help: by being kind, asking other young people near you how they feel and if they want to have a chat, listen or advise them to get help

Keeping active, and participating in different activities, was the best thing that we did to help ourselves. Take a jog around the block – it is free; join a gym; attend BHUMP. Exercise can do a lot to clear your head and improve your mood, and you might be surprised by who you might meet while doing it!

Volunteer in the community and help yourself by helping others. Sometimes the only thing that can drag us out of focusing on ourselves is focusing on others instead. Volunteering with other young people, gardening, animals, or the homeless were all ways we gave our time to help others. It made us feel useful and wanted and helped us feel better about our life.

Some of us found it easier to go on the internet and look for groups helping with emotional well-being and self-improvement or groups that talk about books, hobbies, and other interests. Please do not forget the tips for being safe

It helped some of us to count and write down our blessings every day. It might seem hard but it helps to try to look at positive things and think of people worse off than you like those still in the war, in Syria, Sudan or those in Calais etc. You can make up your own but here are some that helped us:

  • I am away from the war
  • I am alive and woke up today
  • I have a roof over my head
  • I have a kind heart
  • I have food and clean water
  • I am blessed
  • I am a good person
  • I have kind people helping me

British Etiquette Do’s

In the UK manners or etiquette (et-i-ket) are very important. Certain behaviour is expected. We found these very helpful in mixing and fitting in with people.

It is very good manners to say “Please” and “Thank you”. It is considered rude if you don’t. You will notice that in England people say thank you a lot.

Do stand in line: wait patiently for your turn e.g. in a shop, boarding a bus. It is usual to queue when required, and expected that you will take your correct turn and not push in front. ‘Queue jumping’ is not good.

Do say “Excuse Me”: If someone is blocking your way and you would like them to move, say excuse me and they will move out of your way.

Always cover your Mouth with your hand or a tissue: when yawning, coughing, or sneezing.

Do Open doors for other people. Men and women both hold open the door for each other. It depends on who goes through the door first.

Do Smile: if you can. A smiling face is a welcoming face.

Do Shake Hands: When you are first introduced to someone, shake their right hand with your own right hand

Do say sorry: If you accidentally bump into someone, say ‘sorry’. They probably will too, even if it was your fault.

British Etiquette Dont’s

Don’t throw any rubbish or cigarette butts on the floor in the street or anywhere. If you are caught you will get a fine of £80.

Try not to talk too loudly in public.

Don’t steal from shops! there are cameras and guards everywhere (small shops, big department stores and street markets) even if you don’t see them. Sometimes they don’t wear a uniform.

Do not stare

It is rude to stare. Privacy is highly regarded.

Do not spit. Spitting in the street is considered to be very bad mannered.

Do not pick your nose in public: People are disgusted by this. If your nostrils need cleaning, use a tissue.


Do not burp in public: You may feel better by burping loudly after eating or drinking, but other people will not! If you cannot stop a burp from bursting out, then cover your mouth with your hand and say ‘excuse me’ afterwards.

Do not pass wind in public. Now how can we say this politely? Let’s say that you want to pass wind. What do you do? Go somewhere private and let it out. If you accidentally pass wind in company say ‘pardon me’.

Common UK Expressions & Slang

To improve your English speaking in a short time, it is helpful to learn the meaning of common phrases, expressions, slang and daily use sentences that English speakers often use informally especially with friends and family. Use the formal way of speech whenever possible. Here is a very short list that helped us communicate better in our daily life especially in college. You can also practice and learn more of these with your BHUMP Tutor.




Isn’t it?



Take the piss out of someone

Tease someone

Don’t mug me off

I am not an idiot, you know.


A little rude but funny

Have a beef with someone

Fight or have an argument with someone



To be wasted

To be drunk


Without money, broke, bankrupt.

Something is Sick

Something is very nice



A tenner / A fiver

10 Pounds / 5 Pounds


Thank You / Bye


Absolute / Very

To be gutted

To be disappointed

To be chuffed

To be very pleased about something

To fancy someone or something

To like someone or something

Flog Something

To sell something quickly and cheaply

To leg it

To run away

To nick

To steal

Remember, using swear words shows a lack of English or being able to express yourself properly. It is not cool to swear. Try and use a better word or express how you feel without swearing.

Common English Phrases

You can find other common phrases in books in the library or online

Phrases to ask how someone is:

What’s up?

What’s new?

What have you been up to lately? How’s it going?

How are things?

How’s life?

Phrases to say how you are:

I’m fine, thanks. How about you? Pretty good.

Same as always.

Not so great.

Could be better. Can’t complain.

Phrases to say thank you:

I really appreciate it.

I’m really grateful.

That’s so kind of you.

I owe you one. (this means you want/need to do a favour for the other person in the future)

Phrases to respond to thank you:

No problem.

No worries,

Don’t mention it.

My pleasure.


You are most welcome.

Phrases to say I’m sorry:

Use this phrase to apologize, whether for something big or small. Use “for” to give more detail. For example:

I’m sorry for being so late.

I’m sorry for the mess. I wasn’t expecting anyone today.

You can use “really” to show you’re very sorry for something:

I’m really sorry I didn’t invite you to the party.

Phrases to say excuse me:

When you need to get through but there’s someone blocking your way, say “Excuse me.”

You can also say this phrase to politely get someone’s attention. For example:

Excuse me sir, you dropped your wallet.

Excuse me; do you know what time it is?

Phrases for cold weather:

It’s a little chilly.

It’s freezing. (= extremely cold) Make sure to bundle up. (bundle up = put on warm clothes for protection against the cold)

Phrases for hot weather:

It’s absolutely boiling! (boiling = extremely hot)

Its scorching hot outside.

Notable UK Dates

You will learn more about these and other important UK dates during BHUMP life skills sessions and also in College.


1 January: New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Eve (31 December) it’s traditional to celebrate midnight.

There are parties across the country. New Year’s Day is a public holiday so celebrations last late into the night!

Late January-early February: Chinese New Year – See food stalls, fireworks and dragons on many streets

London’s celebration is the biggest outside of Asia, offering plenty of colour, sounds and delicious smells.

Shrove Tuesday: also known as Pancake Day falls the day before Lent begins. Lent is the traditional Christian period of fasting which begins 40 days before Easter and ends on Easter Sunday.

Not all Christians fast. Some prefer to give something up for Lent such as chocolate. Because fasting meant that lots of food would spoil, people would use up their eggs, milk and sugar by making pancakes.

14 February:

Valentine’s Day

Take your loved one out for dinner and give them a Valentine’s card, chocolates or flowers to celebrate this day of romance.


1st March: ST David’s Day –

Many people pin a daffodil to their clothes, and wear traditional costumes.

People in Wales and those of Welsh origin celebrate the life of their patron saint, St David,

17 March:

St Patrick’s Day

Celebrated by Irish communities all around the world. People dress in green.

1st April: On April Fools’ Day it is acceptable to play tricks and practical jokes on people.

Even newspapers, TV and radio shows often feature fake stories to try and trick people. Any jokes must be played before midday and if you catch someone out, you must shout ‘April Fools’! After noon, ‘the joke is on you’.

23rd April St George’s Day.

St George is the patron Saint of England. There is a legend that he bravely killed a dragon!

The Cross of Saint George is red on a white background and is the national flag of England.

Easter: 2 bank holidays on Good Friday and Easter Monday. This Christian holiday is normally celebrated with a meal, usually with roast lamb to mark the start of spring.

Another delicious tradition is chocolate eggs sold in different sizes from tiny ones to some the size of your head!


First and Last Mondays of May

Early May bank holiday and Spring bank holiday

Muslims use a lunar calendar which differs in length from the Gregorian calendar used worldwide. This means the Gregorian date of Muslim holidays, shifts slightly from one year to the next, falling about 11 days earlier each year

Ramadan. Islamic holy month of fasting. The first day of the month of Ramadan in 2018 was May 17.

During this month, Muslims fast from early morning (before dawn) through to sunset. Fasting means no food, drink or smoking.


Eid al-Fitr: this means Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. In 2018 it was June 15.

is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan.

June: The Queen of England’s official Birthday. The Queen’s real birthday is on the 21st of April however it has been a tradition since 1748 for the state to celebrate the king or queen’s birthday in June.

This is because in June there is more likely to be nicer weather, so the Queen can celebrate her birthday with civilians in nicer weather. A military parade known as Trooping the Colour is held in London and is attended by the Royal Family

21 June: Summer solstice

Celebrate the longest day and shortest night of the year


Eid al-Adha: on August 21st in 2018

This is the second Eid celebration in the Muslim year. The name means Festival of the Sacrifice.


31 October: Halloween – based on the ancient Celtic religion

Expect to see Children and adults dressed up in scary costumes and masks

5th November: Bonfire Night This event marks the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605.

Wrap up warm and go to one of the many organised bonfire night events. BHUMP yearly arranges for young people to attend Brunel University spectacular firework display.

Diwali: The 5 day Festival of Lights for Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities is marked in several UK cities.

Leicester’s extravagant street parties with traditional food, music, dancing and fireworks is one of the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India.

Remembrance Day: the second Sunday every November honours the heroic efforts, achievements and sacrifices that were made in past wars. 2 minutes of silence is also made on November 11 at 11am.

In the weeks leading up to

11th November , The Royal British Legion charity sells paper poppy flowers to raise funds for veterans and their families (the poppy is a symbol of Remembrance Day). You will see many people wearing a poppy during this time and can get one from any local shop by contributing a few coins.


December: Hanukkah – The Festival of

Lights celebrated by Jewish communities across the UK.

The Menorah (the candelabrum lit

during Hanukkah) in Trafalgar Square in London is the largest in Europe.

25 and 26 December: Christmas Day and Boxing Day – both are bank holidays when many people spend time with friends and family.

Christmas means a big celebration in the UK! The build-up starts weeks before with Christmas markets, parties, trees, presents and mince pies taking centre stage through most of December.

Tips for Integrating

Here are some things we learnt that have helped us settle in the UK and feel less isolated. We are sharing them with you hoping they help you too. These little cultural differences will be a regular part of adapting to life in UK, and so it’s important to learn them so you get used to life in UK. Remember that integration is a two way street.

English language skills are most important. Learn the language properly, and get used to it. Look on the internet, YouTube, library and get books which help with particular words used by British.

Understand British humour and irony. Accept the jokes. One of the things we found most confusing about British culture is humour. Bantering or “taking the mickey” are all ways to describe making fun of someone but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teasing someone is a common way to show affection.

Learn about the British culture and how people behave (manners). That does not mean you should forget about your own culture and values. Just make sure they fit with the British norms of politeness, respect and tolerance.

The British are punctual. Being late is odd and, in some cases, considered to be rude. If you’re going to be late to something, contact those involved as soon as you know you will be late.

Never jump lines, known as “queues” in UK. In some countries jumping the queue may be acceptable, but in UK, people may not be very happy with you and will definitely let you know how unhappy they are about the situation. Standing patiently in the queue is a normal part of British culture.

Respect one’s personal space. You should not stand too close to people when you talk to them. English people find this uncomfortable.

Please, thank you, and sorry are normal parts of everyday conversations and interactions. Some of us were really surprised by how polite some British people are. You may not be used to this, but you will have to learn this.

If you are on public transport, you are expected to give up your seat if someone who is disabled, pregnant or older and less able to stand comes onto the vehicle and there is no other seat. If an older adult or a disabled person seems to be struggling with something, it is respectful to ask the person if they need your help.

Eye contact or staring: In public, on public transport, people avoid making eye contact with strangers. Most people either read or look towards the ground slightly rather than at peoples’ faces. People find it uncomfortable if they feel as though someone is watching them.




Understand the differences. The United Kingdom is made of different countries (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) and numerous different regions that all have their very own and very different traditions, dialect and even language.

Be patient. Remember, it will take time to settle in the UK and if you follow the tips you have a better chance of fitting in very well. Many people in UK are very kind and helpful but, like everywhere in the world, there are some ignorant people who are not very welcoming. As long as you still follow your own values of honesty and treat everyone you come across with respect, you will settle in well. Also do not forget to thank the people who help you!!!

English Money

1£ (Pound) = 100p (pence)


£5 Pounds

£10 Pounds

£20 Pounds

£50 Pounds


1 Penny

2 Pence

5 Pence

10 Pence

20 Pence

50 Pence

1 Pound

2 Pounds

BUDGETING: Speak to your Keyworker or a BHUMP staff member if you need help and advice on managing your money so it can last longer.


There are lots of supermarkets for you to choose around the area:


  • Sainsbury’s (U1,U2,U3,U4,U5,U7,222, A10)
  • M &S (U1,U2,U3,U4,U5,U7,222, A10)
  • Tesco (U1,U2,U3,U4,U5,U7,222, A10)
  • Iceland (U1,U2,U3,U4,U5,U7,222, A10)


  • Lidl (U5, 222)
  • Iceland (U4, 140, E6, 350)
  • Asda (U4, 140, E6, 350)
  • Lidl (90, 40, 427,U7)
  • Sainsbury’s (U7, U3)
  • Tesco (U4, 427, E6)

West Drayton

  • Morrison’s (U1,U3,U5, 222)
  • Iceland (U1,U3,U5, 222)
  • Aldi (U1,U3,U5, 222)
  • Tesco Superstore (U1,U3,U5.222)

Tips on Shopping…

TIP 1: Make a quick shopping list; spend just a couple of minutes itemising what you need and which shops to go to. Having a plan of action reduces the chance of impulse buys, saving you time and money!

TIP 2: Sometimes if you go to supermarkets later in the day (3 hours before it closes), they discount food to really cheap. So when you next go into the supermarket, just ask a worker if they have a discount section.

TIP 3: To save money, bring your own plastic bags or reusable bag because supermarkets charge 5p for one!

TIP 4: Make a quick shopping list; spend just a couple of minutes itemising what you need and which shops to go to. Having a plan of action reduces the chance of impulse buys, saving you time and money!

TIP 5: Shop in the cheapest Store possible. You can check prices online to find the cheapest!

TIP 6: Cook from scratch. Save money by reducing spending on takeaways. Preparing and cooking your own meals is generally cheaper than buying a takeaway or a ready meal, and because you control what goes in to your dish, it can be healthier.

Discount Shops

The budgeting and life skills we have gained during BHUMP sessions have helped us look after the money we have and not waste it.

TIP 7: Buy most of your things at good discount shops around our community. Some of these shops are: Primark, Peacock, Matalan, Lidl, Aldi, Pound Land, Wilkinson and B&M Stores.

TIP 8: Charity Shops are a great place to find decent cheap second-hand items at a very good price. Shop carefully for books, clothes, shoes, household items, you can find many good bargains. Just wash the clothes before use. They look as good as new. There are many Charity shops around and here are a few:


18 Station Rd, Hayes, UB3 4DA

The Salvation Army:

2 Westbourne Parade, Uxbridge, UB10 0NY

Harlington Hospice:

Station Road, West Drayton, UB7 7DD


2 Fairfield Road, West Drayton, UB7 7DS.

TIP 9: Always check and keep your receipt

after you have bought your goods from any shop. If they are faulty, you have a right to return them as long as you do so within 2 weeks or time stated on the receipt.

Traditional Food

There are lots of supermarkets around that sell traditional foods from your home country;

here are a few:

  • Sira Cash and Carry – Asian, African and European food (Amrit House, Springfield Road, Hayes, UB4 0LG)
  • Hayes food Centre – Iranian, Turkish and Middle Eastern food (66-68 Coldharbour Ln, Hayes UB3 3ES)
  • Continental Food Store – African food (The Arcade Unit 7, High St, Uxbridge UB8 1LG,)
  • MIESZKO Polski sklep – Polish food (784 Uxbridge Rd, Hayes UB4 0RS)
  • Yiewsley Food Centre – Fruit, vegetables and food from Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe. ( 73-75, High Street, Yiewsley, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7QH)

*Please ask your Social Worker, Key Worker, and/ or Youth Worker at Key House if you need help getting there.

EXAMPLE: If you are looking for traditional food from your country, type it into Google:

You may also find some food from your home country in the ‘World’ section in your local supermarkets like ‘Asda’, Sainsbury’s and ‘Tesco’.

Struggling to buy food? No money? Speak to BHUMP for Foodbank information. We may be able to help you with a free food package.

Entertainment / Leisure

Hillingdon has some of the best sports and leisure facilities in London, offering a huge range of activities and classes for everyone. There are many different things to do around Hillingdon to keep you entertained.

ODEON (Uxbridge

Cinema. See the latest films here on IMAX, 3D and 2D.

(£7-12 for students)

Botwell Leisure Centre (Hayes)

Swimming, Gym, Sauna and lots of different sports.

(£2 per hour)

Uxbridge Lido

for swimming outside, it’s very nice in summer!

(£1.20 – 3.70 per hour)

Battle of Britain Bunker

Find out about the Battle of Britain Bunker which played a big role in British history in 1940 (Entrance £3 each)

Parks and open spaces

Hillingdon is the second largest London Borough with over 200 green spaces covering about 1,800 acres, so many places to discover.

Outdoor Gyms

Hillingdon has 18 outdoor gyms in beautiful parks and open spaces designed to encourage residents to keep fit and active. (Free of charge). For a list of sites visit:


Ruislip Lido

Ruislip Lidooffers a range of facilities situated around a 40 acre lake and is home to many species of wildlife. Great for walks, swimming, and enjoying a sandy beach. (Free entrance)

Hillingdon Trail

A lovely area to go and relax. Great for cycling, picnics, walks and runs (Free entrance).

Walk Hillingdon

Free local enjoyable led walks across Hillingdon for all fitness levels. Each walk lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours and is designed to improve health and wellbeing. You can meet new people and also familiarise yourself with the local area.

Heathrow Bowl

(Harlington/Hayes) – Bowling, arcade and pool tables!

(£4 per game per person)

The William Byrd Pool (Harlington)

Offers a more personal swimming experience, the only facility is a swimming pool, which has no balcony or other facilities overlooking it, so you can swim with a bit more privacy.

The Polish War Memorial

The Polish War Memorial is a war memorial in South Ruislip in memory of airmen from Poland who served in the Royal Air Force as part of the Polish contribution to World War 2


There are many different sports you can be involved in around the area. Here are a few examples:

  • BHUMP Running and Football Club
  • Uxbridge 13.179 mm Club
  • Yeading and Hayes Football Club
  • Basketball at Hillingdon Leisure centre

Social Bike Rides (Uxbridge)

Free social bike rides take place from on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month. Get fit, meet new people and have fun! Rides are for all ability riders to many locations. Please check their website www.bikewisegb.com for dates and destinations.

If you need a bike to help you get around, you may be able to get a second hand or used bike. Speak to Freda in Key House. You will be put on a waiting list which may take up to 3 months. You will also need to have an ARC or BRP no to register for a bike.

For ALL sports in Hillingdon, please go to this website:


Places of Worship

Local Catholic Churches:

  • Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Michael(The Presbytery, Osborn Rd, Uxbridge UB8 1UE)
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary church (Hayes UB3 2BG)
  • St. Catherine RC Church (20 The Green, West Drayton UB7 7PJ)

Other Churches:

  • Hillingdon Pentecostal Church
  • All Saints Hillingdon – Church of England
  • Salem Baptist Church – Uxbridge

Local Mosques:

  • Hayes Central Mosque (3, Pump Ln, Hayes UB3 3NB)
  • Hillingdon central mosque- Uxbridge (UB8 9HE)
  • West Drayton Central Mosque (1 Colham Mill Rd, West Drayton UB7 7AD)

Sikh Temple:

  • Hayes Sikh temple (Golden Cres, Hayes UB3 1AQ)

Hindu Temple:

  • Shree Adhya Shakti Mataji temple (55, High Street, Cowley, Uxbridge, London, Middlesex UB8 2DX)


Google Translate an example of an app that you can download to your smartphone. It has over 52 languages available!

appsforrefugees.com is a collection of free smartphone apps especially for refugees. Safe downloads directly from Google Play Store or Apple App Store to your mobile phone!

Refugee Phrasebook Interactive Small translation app with about 1100 useful phrases for communication between refugees and supporters. More than 30 languages supported. This app Works OFFLINE

iTranslate Voice provides text-to-speech and voice-to-voice translation on both iOS and Android devices. It translates what you say right after you say it. Supports 44 languages. Downloaded from the App Store or Google Play

Dictionairies: Available to buy, so please ask your Social or Key worker for more information. You may also be able to borrow one from the Library.


The laws of England may be different than your home country, so if you are not sure, always ask!

Here are some general laws in England of what you CANT do until you are 18

  • You cannot buy alcohol
  • You cannot see or buy 18 rated films
  • You cannot buy fireworks
  • You cannot bet in a shop
  • You cannot buy cigarettes and tobacco and BE CAREFUL… it is illegal to smoke in public places
  • You cannot get a tattoo
  • You cannot buy a knife, blade razor or anything else with a sharp point. BE CAREFUL, it is illegal to carry a knife whatever age you are.

In the U.K. fighting with anyone at any age is considered a crime.

If you cannot solve the conflict instead of getting physical, walk away.

Alternatively report the abusive person to a police officer giving a full description of the person, time, place and circumstances.

Sexual Harrasment; if you feel you are being a victim of sexual attack or harassment please report it to your social worker, a police officer or responsible adult e.g. Teacher who is close by. Do not delay the reporting as much as possible. But don't assume it is ever too late to report concerns. A late reported incident is better than keepingsilent. You should also be aware that committing sexual harassment is a serious crime in the UK. Some examples of unwanted inappropriate behaviour include sexual comments, unwelcome sexual advances, displaying pictures, Sending emails or text messages etc.

Drugs; are classified into class A, B and C.

Possession of these controlled substances

could carry a prison term of up to 7 plus years.

However, their supply and production is a

more serious offence. You might end up getting a life sentence in prison. The best thing to do is to avoid anything that seems suspicious. If you choose to even carry someone else’s drugs, everyone involved gets a sentence. Also, don’t give in to temptations as drugs are often offered free of charge to get you hooked on them.

Shoplifting; is the theft of goods from a shop, supermarket or other retail business. The shoplifter will take items, such as clothing, food, video games, and leave the shop without paying for the goods. In most cases, the shoplifter will hide the items in their pockets, in a bag or under their coat. If you are found guilty of shoplifting, you can be charged with theft under the Theft Act 1986. It is a serious criminal offence. Not only would you receive a criminal record, but you

could also receive a prison sentence.

Tips to Achieve your goals

We all have dreams whether we live in our home country or in a foreign one.

But, settling in a new country leaves us spending a lot of our time and energy while trying to adjust to a new culture.

The direct result of this is that we might lose sight of what it is we love to do or become. And refocusing needs a lot of effort and a solid strategy.


We hope these easy-to-follow five steps help you close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

2. Set a goal, Start small and work at it every day.

  • Focus on progress not perfection.
  • Learn from your mistakes and try to move on.

3. Surround yourself with people who are motivated

  • Limit the time you spend around people who aren’t working towards a goal of their own.

4. Say no to negative thoughts and feelings.

  • Keep a journal and dump your thoughts on it as often as possible.

5. Ask for help.

  • Get advice on how to overcome your challenges from someone you trust. There are also many organisations and people who care and can help if you ask!!!




Messages of Encouragement

from BHUMP Young People

Attend BHUMP SESSIONS – to help you understand how everything works and what to expect from a new country.

Beginnings are difficult but it will get easier with time.

Keep strong! Stay positive! Things will get better.

Every day offers a new beginning.

It is OK to ask for help.

Welcome to London. Try your best to learn English fast.

To help learn English fast speak mostly in English with your friends and not only your language.

Make use of all the opportunities you are offered in UK.

There are many people who can support you at BHUMP and in UK.

It won’t be easy but it will get better.

May courage keep you strong and love make you stronger.

You are not alone!

Remember to always say thank you to everyone who helps you and for small things.

H.O.P.E. Hold On Pain Ends.

BHUMP can help you to learn English and many new things.

Don’t give up hope.

Learn English by reading many English books, watching films on you tube, and TV.

Save any money you have and do not waste it. It is cold so you might need warm clothes.

Learn English by speaking to many British people and make friends with them.

You can do anything you want if you try and believe in yourself.

All of us had problems in our countries and were forced to leave. Please forget these previous events and work hard for your new future here.

I advise you to go for exercise. I do not know what your favourite sport is, but please your own health is very important.

Please, if you are a smoker, do not waste money on smoking. Try to think about your goals and purpose at large.

After 1 month you can go to Asphaelia or college and learn new things.

The first thing you must do is learn English because you are like deaf and dumb without it.

It is good news for me to go to college, progress and be a good person for England and you should also do it.

You can do anything you want if you try and believe in yourself.

Be thankful for all things and for safety. Always think of people worse off than you.

About this Booklet

Why this booklet?

This book was written by young asylum seekers and refugees and is aimed at new arrivals hoping it helps them as they navigate their way and settle into the host community. We thought of producing an information hand book, (BHUMPERS GUIDE) as a result of our own personal experiences finding our way in a new community. We saw the need to author our own booklet so that we too can help new arrivals specifically young people in Hillingdon like us, who are within the age range 16 to 21 years.

Why is this booklet not translated to different languages?

This booklet has not been translated as we all need to learn English as quickly as possible to help us get into college and also integrate in the community. This booklet will help us practice reading and learning the English language.

What is in this booklet?

The information in this booklet is based on our day to day experiences in the London Borough of Hillingdon, as we try to integrate into our host communities. Our varied experiences span from just six months to five years living in this Borough. It is said experience is the best teacher. Therefore, we believe our different experiences may be of value to you. We also hope that one day you will add your own experiences to benefit other young people.

How did we do it?

We spent a number of weeks with BHUMP staff and volunteers in a series of writing workshops; in which we developed ideas together and were supported to write about our various experiences on the how, where and what we did; when we just arrived in our new communities.

We all had different experiences. However, we learnt that we all had a number of things in common on how we were able (and still trying) to adjust to our host communities.

At the end of the day, our supporting adults then ‘brushed’ and ‘polished’ our work. We therefore say a big thank you to all of them; for making us write our ever first literature.

We hope, dear reader, you will enjoy and find useful our small and humble information booklet.

Copyright © 2022 HRSG All rights reserved.