Co-produce a feature film which will give asylum-seeking children a future

by Leave to Remain CIC

About the project


Creating Awareness £40,000
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Each year around 3,000 unaccompanied children claim asylum in the UK (Into the Unknown: Children’s Journeys through the Asylum Process, The Children’s Society, 2012). They arrive having fled war, human rights abuses and persecution, and making long and traumatic journeys to get here, often experience violence and abuse on the way. Despite this, unaccompanied children continue to be granted refugee status at a noticeably lower rate than overall applicants. In 2011, 25% of asylum applications were granted refugee status compared to only 18% of unaccompanied children (Into the Unknown: Children’s Journeys through the Asylum Process, The Children’s Society, 2012). Children often struggle to get the support they need in the UK. This is due to a range of factors, from their difficulties to communicate when they first arrive, to the cultural restrictions that may prevent them from demanding adequate and appropriate help from adults and those in positions of authority. Furthermore, many young people seeking sanctuary alone, suffer social, psychological and emotional trauma due to their experiences, which makes navigating a new and complex system all the more challenging. Arriving in the UK these children expect to be welcomed into a place of safety and security, but instead are met by a pervasive culture of disbelief. Many young people’s experiences are deemed simply untrue, whilst others have their very status as a child queried too. These ‘age-disputed’ young people, if considered to be older than 18, are denied the support that is their right, as the responsibility of the local authority is minimised when dealing with those perceived to be adults. Young people must be treated as children first and migrants second. We have an international obligation to protect vulnerable young people, regardless of their immigration status.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
In 2008, there were an estimated 5,500 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children seeking asylum and being cared for by local authority. In 2008, only 10% of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children were granted refugee status on arrival and only 1% granted humanitarian protection. The remainder are forced into an untimely appeals process. Of 165 age-disputed cases dealt with at Oakington Removal Centre in 2005, more than 50% were found to be children.
What is your solution?
There are many suggested methods to improve the day to day lives of young people seeking asylum, from ending child detention and improving age assessment processes, to introducing a named guardian for all young people seeking refuge in the UK. However, the first key step in achieving any long term change for young people seeking sanctuary is to create a cultural shift in the way they are perceived, separating them from the main asylum debates so they are treated as children first. We believe that this is where we can add value. By using a well researched and compelling drama to raise awareness amongst a wide audience of the experiences of young people seeking asylum, we hope to draw attention to their specific experiences, highlighting the challenges they face in order to encourage a new found empathy and understanding amongst the public towards this particular group. We hope that this groundwork will act as a basis for further campaigning, ideally calling for the Government to appoint a ‘guardian’ for all separated children (including age-disputed) to help them during the asylum process. This is a solution that has been well-researched by refugee sector organisations and called for by many others including the Refugee Children’s Consortium (which represents over 25 refugee and children’s organisations) and the Children’s Commissioner for England. A ‘guardian’ will support the child through the immigration process and help them navigate the complicated social, legal and welfare systems as well as offer independent advice and basic support which will help the child adjust to life in the UK.
How will you deliver this?
We have an award-winning team at the healm of this production, and with a host of such talent we are confident in our ability to make a feature which powerfully and creatively communicates the lives of young people seeking refuge. We have already begun and continue to build meaningful partnerships with refugee organisations and children’s charities and engage in an ongoing dialogue with them about how they may best be able to use this film to inspire change in the lives of young people seeking sanctuary alone in the UK.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Like’ us on Facebook at, Follow us on Twitter at & check us out on Instagram, our profile is leave2remain.
  • 5 minutes
    Sign up to our newsletter for regular updates straight to your inbox. You can subscribe on our website:
  • 15 minutes
    Tell your friends about us, send them an email about our campaign,mention us over a cup of tea. Whatever works. We want our film to be a tool that spearheads a revitalised discussion around the rights of children seeking sanctuary, and step one in getting people to join the conversation is to make connections.
  • 30 minutes
    Watch the short films made by graduates from our Training Academy. The untapped talent you see there? It’s at the heart of our film:
  • A few hours
    Visit some useful websites and get clued up about the asylum system. There are loads of good places to start. We recommend the Refugee Council (, Asylum Aid (, Refugee Action (, Refugee Week ( and Women for Refugee Women (
  • Regular time commitment
    It is vital that this film reaches as many people as possible and the bigger our team of backers, the bigger our chances of success. If you can make a regular time commitment to Leave to Remain, whatever your skills may be, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here:

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E H 07 December 2012 - 12:59

Here thanks to Franny's mail out. I really hope you make it and I get to see the finished film. Good luck, and may god bless all the kids out there on their own.

franny 06 December 2012 - 15:41

Hi. I just donated 200 pounds which wasn't really from me, but from Adam (Wishart)'s 80-year-plus Auntie, Helen Wishart, who has been supporting Leave To Remain for many years and was delighted to hear that you are finally shooting.

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Our mission is to change the culture of disbelief in the Home Office and parts of the media in their regard to and treatment of, unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Through the production of a commercially viable feature film we aim to bring the little-known experiences of this group into the public consciousness. The film will inspire the public to bring about a social and political change which will be facilitated by a campaign supported by members of the Refugee Children’s Consortium. The campaigning arm will further support educational film making workshops for unaccompanied asylum seeking children across the UK.

Geographical coverage

Within UK

Our track record

Bruce Goodison (Leave to Remain Writer/Director) was involved in The Age of Stupid, a film which redefined the idea of socially engaged filmmaking in the 21st century. Beyond his strong commitment to making compelling films that mobilise public opinion, he has a track record of making acclaimed documentary and drama, having won almost every award going. His drama-documentary, ‘FLIGHT 93: The Flight that Fought Back’, was nominated for an Emmy for the Best TV movie. ‘Our War’ won best factual series at the 2012 BAFTA’s. ‘SAS: Iranian Embassy Siege’ won the Grierson Award for the Best Historical Documentary in 2003. The Executive Producer of the film is Pippa Cross; an award winning indie film and TV Producer who sat on the Board of Directors of UK Film Council, now the BFI. With over twenty years of experience, Pippa’s credits include acclaimed films such as ‘My Left Foot’, ‘Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Shooting Dogs’ – the highly acclaimed film about the Rwandan Genocide. Producers James Levison & Kate Cook are both well recognised for making excellent documentaries & high profile political dramas.

Who do we help?

Existing Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in the UK and new arrivals as well as the NGOs and faith groups that support them.

How do we deliver this?

We will deliver: A 90-minute feature film : Leave to Remain film. A 2-year campaign: Leave to Remain Action Campaign. A 2-year educational programme: Leave to Remain Training Academy.

Awards And Recognitions

Bruce Goodison As Director / Executive Producer (Winner of two Gierson Awards, BAFTA nominee, RTS winner and Emmy nominee): 'The Age of Stupid' Winner of Best Green Doc / '10 Days to War' Winner of Best Production and Best TV Movie, Rome Fiction Fest 2008 / 'Flight 93: Flight that fought back' Emmy nominated for Best TV Movie / ‘SAS: Iranian Embassy Siege’ BAFTA and Grierson winner. Kate Cook As Production Manager/Line Producer: '10 Days to War' Winner of Best Production and Best TV Movie, Rome Fiction Fest 2008 / 'The Blood of the Rose' Sheffield Documentary Film Festival Green Winner and Grierson nominated. James Levison As Production Associate: ‘Endgame’ Winner of a Peabody Award, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated.