How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

At the Education and Skills Development Group (ESDEG) we strive to alleviate child poverty through education in the London borough of Ealing. We run several programmes that provide support to the children belonging to refugee and deprived communities so that they can perform at par with the rest of their school cohort and enjoy a dignified childhood.

Supplementary Schooling: ESDEG was started to help children from refugee and deprived backgrounds to perform better in school. Around 2005 a bunch of us noticed that the attainment rate for children from refugee families in the Ealing was pretty dismal. Somali children were struggling in school and consistently underachieving, so we started after-school homework clubs. Our tutors not only provide children help with academic subjects in particular English, Mathematics and Science, but also offer a safe space to share their experiences in and about school.

Summer Camps: Over summer and other holidays we team up with other local organisations to organise camps, family fun days, seaside trips, sports and other recreational activities because we realise that some of the parents from deprived backgrounds cannot afford to take their children on holidays and day outs.

Family and Schools Partnership: Our work with children and parents made us realise how much some parents from deprived backgrounds whose first language is not English struggle to communicate with the teachers and school staff. The challenge gets multiplied for parents who were not raised in the British education system. From this stemmed our next service, our Family Support Liaison Officers work as a communication bridge between schools and children and their parents. One of the major issues our liaison officers are working on are school exclusions, both formal and informal. We have also produced a research document based on case studies of exclusion cases among the Somali community in Ealing (report available in our website

Youth Mentoring Project: This project is designed to provide individual and group mentoring to inspire young people; help raise their self-esteem and aspirations; improve their attainment and behaviour; and reduce the likelihood of exclusions, crime and anti-social behaviour. We motivate them to study and succeed in life by looking up to successful role models. Moreover, we equip our mentees with the resilience, emotional intelligence and growth mindset to help them overcome their barriers. Our experienced mentors provide structured and engaging sessions to young people from minority backgrounds, offering guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of their mentees. Young people often disclose concerns and problems that parents/carers and school staff are not aware of. Our mentors also detect and report any safeguarding concerns and help young people overcome issues of abuse, bullying, radicalisation, neglect etc.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Project supports children in Ealing with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Our aim is to bridge the gap between families, schools and the Local Authority by working with both the parents and the children to ensure the child is receiving all the support they need for educational success. Our specialised staff focus on identifying the reasonable adjustments a child with SEND may need to reduce the disadvantages they face as well as providing extra encouragement in their learning and support with physical and personal care difficulties.


Tell us something you are excited about?

ESDEG’s integrative therapist has recently launched an initiative which encourages school children to express themselves through art. These exercises have been very effective with children who suffer from anxiety. Children not only express themselves more candidly through colours and pencils, they enjoy the process and are eager to come back for more. Seeing the success of this initiative, our counsellor is planning to expand this to other children as well.


Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service?

Last year (2020-2021) we supported over 180 students through our supplementary schooling – helping to raise their academic achievement, self-esteem, and social skills. Over the last seventeen years since ESDEG started, we have seen the children who attended supplementary schools improve their performance in school, secure college places and go on to have successful careers.


What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

ESDEG works with refugee and minority communities, the so-called hard-to-reach target groups. One of the main reasons for our successful outreach is that many of our staff are from minority backgrounds ourselves. Not only do we belong to the same community and speak the same languages, we understand the cultural and religious nuances which enhance communication and our clients feel confidence in our ability to provide them with high quality services.


What would most help you achieve your goals?

Like the other grassroots organisations we are also striving to operate with a limited pot of funding. Added to that is our struggle to secure office and training/meeting spaces for our day to day activities in the Ealing borough of London. The third challenge we face is in recruitment, training and retaining our staff. We feel that we could concentrate on our work a lot better if these administrative issues could be sorted.


Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

To connect with like minded organisations who are working with disadvantaged groups. Also being part of the 4in10 network helps us be part of the collective voice of the sector.