Presentation on theme: "Refugees & asylum seekers volunteering – experiences & outcomes at Northern Refugee Centre Juan Varela Volunteer Befriending Scheme Worker."— Presentation transcript:
Refugees & asylum seekers volunteering – experiences & outcomes at Northern Refugee Centre Juan Varela Volunteer Befriending Scheme Worker
Northern Refugee Centre Independent charity Set up in 1983 Currently 14 paid staff Over 300 volunteers since 2001 Geographical range: South Yorkshire direct services Yorkshire / (UK) strategic / policy role
Current main areas of work Advice Community development Volunteering Employment research project Awareness-raising
Volunteer roles since 2001 Advice / Meet & Greet Befriending Conversation Clubs Reception / general assistant IT4Communities Total: over 300 volunteers
2001-3 conclusions Asylum seeker volunteers c.25% Refugee volunteers c.15% Some reasons for high figure: Quick induction Lots of company Single office; captive audience Barriers to refugees volunteering elsewhere or accessing information Total 40%
Volunteering 2004-5 Asylum seeker volunteers c.5% Refugee volunteers c.5% Some reasons for low figure Total 10%
Volunteering 2004-5 Some reasons for low figure: Funding specifically for befriending scheme Mental health focus One-to-one activity Slow induction and matching Criminal record checks Already volunteering in refugee community Volunteer Centre Sheffield refugee project
Refugee & asylum seeker involvement: benefits for organisation Broad range of backgrounds & experience Empathy with, & knowledge of, user group Education level higher than native populations Increases cultural awareness among staff Word of mouth publicity for organisation Skills & training enhanced service delivery
Refugees & asylum seeker involvement: benefits for them Not allowed to work, but can volunteer Improves English Reduces isolation, improves integration References, accreditation & skills jobs / education Opportunity to give something back
Good practice Extra support for volunteer if necessary Awareness-raising among organisations Good practice guides, e.g. A-Z of Volunteering and Asylum Translated information, e.g. Voluntary Action Sheffield website Networking and joint working Refugee community development work
Case study 1 Northern Refugee Centre work: 1 refugee community development worker, helping a few targeted groups and an awareness- raising group 1 Refugee Communities Forum Support Worker Rights & entitlements training course (funding from Challenge Fund; delivered by Advice Service Manager) Befriending scheme for refugees suffering from depression, anxiety, isolation etc.
Case study 2 Conversation Club Sheffield Run by volunteers Improving spoken English in welcoming environment Social activities High profile!
Case study 3 Volunteer Centre Sheffield Refugee & Asylum Seeker Project Aims: Give in-depth support to refugees and asylum seekers who want to volunteer and have been matched to a volunteer placement. Increase the number of suitable volunteering opportunities. Promote good practice in volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers.