Migrateful’s mission is to empower and celebrate refugees and vulnerable migrants on their journey to integration by supporting them to run their own cookery classes.

The founder, Jess Thompson, prior to setting up Migrateful, spent two and a half years working on the front line to support migrants and refugees in Ceuta, Morocco, Dunkirk refugee camp in France, and London. Her work has included facilitating a support group for victims of human trafficking, teaching English, Spanish and French to asylum seekers, and setting up therapeutic English conversation clubs.

Migrateful works with three groups, all facing common issues, but with their own particular circumstances:

Asylum seekers: who have no right to work and no recourse to public funds while their cases are being considered. As a result, many are destitute and deprived of crucial opportunities to participate in British society;

Refugees: who have been granted asylum and can legally work, but often still face difficulties. 50% of the 125,000 refugees living in the UK are unemployed, often due to limited English, or because their qualifications are not recognised by British employers;

Long-term migrants: Some migrants may have lived in the UK for many years yet still be unable to speak English. Many are isolated and lonely as a result.

For all three groups language barriers present many difficulties and make finding work difficult, if not impossible. Being unable to provide for themselves and their families has significant negative effects on self-esteem and mental health. Without basic English, all three groups also struggle to access support and interact meaningfully with the host community. This in turn can build fear and mistrust amongst the host population, breeding tension and further hampering integration.