2018 Year Review

looking back…

“Before I am so cling to myself - I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to… but the sessions help us to lose our inhibitions and release the tension. Like, you get to meet new people and you build confidence as well and then people show their personality...” - Rachel, workshop participant

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…2018 has been a big year for Routes

We’ve worked with almost 150 women across London from over 30 different countries; we’ve run over 60 hours of free theatre workshops; we’ve facilitated over 100 hours of mentoring meetings and delivered 12 hours of training.

We’ve received generous support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, UnLtd, the Funding Network, Year Here and Allia Future Business Centre; we’ve been listed amongst the top 100 Women in Social Enterprise and been interviewed by the Guilty Feminist, the Linguist journal and Shado magazine. (All linked below)

We’ve met some amazing people, who have supported us in our mission, and we’ve built relationships that will last for years to come.

“Everything we do just adds to your day whereas if you are at home on Friday just looking at the ceiling, nothing to do... And everyone has been amazing, they’ve been supportive, even outside this room. If you have any personal issues you just call them and they always like pick up so yeah, it has been an amazing experience so yeah, I love it.” - Betty, workshop participant

We’ve made puppets, sung songs, watched plays, heard stories, told stories, laughed (a lot), introduced people, been introduced to people, heard praise and criticism and been inspired to do more and think big.


Last week, we celebrated the end of the year with 30 phenomenal women, who have been part of our journey for the past three months. Alongside weekly theatre workshops, generously hosted by the Young Vic Theatre, 15 mentor-mentee pairs have been meeting since October. These pairs have achieved extraordinary things - from completing work experience placements and sourcing free laptops, to attending theatre trips and correcting homework, from launching new businesses to applying to university - you name it, our women have done it. We are so immensely proud of them all, and grateful for the support and warmth each mentor has extended to their mentee.

“It has been great to get to know my mentee and to provide a space for her that I hope I have made supportive and open to her needs and direction. It has felt… so important to be made more aware of the challenges faced by refugees in our difficult and sometimes horrifically unfair system. The training sessions were all excellent and we were given space to discuss our needs and concerns.” - Anne-Marie, Routes mentor

We know that it’s not just mentees who have benefited from the process: our mentors have told us they feel they have become better, more confident communicators; they have developed patience and compassion; they feel more fulfilled in their day-to-day life and infinitely more grateful for the opportunities they have, from going to work to attending a concert or meeting friends. Many of the 15 mentoring relationships will be continuing as friendships beyond the end of the programme. Knowing that our programmes are creating more compassionate, connected communities brings us so much joy.

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Finally, we want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in 2018 - without you, none of this would have been possible. To our advisors and mentors, faculty, training day panelists, fellow social entrepreneurs, friends and family - thank you for being a part of our journey this year, we can’t wait to share our plans for 2019 with you…

It’s going to be another big one.

Leyla and Daisy


Paul Hamlyn Foundation


The Funding Network

Year Here

Allia Future Business Centre

100 Women in Social Enterprise

The Guilty Feminist

The Linguist journal

Shado magazine