Befriending and running refugee groups
Refugees, asylum seekers and migrant young people should have someone looking out for them. Whether it is practising English, applying for jobs or just a friendly face. That is where our amazing volunteers, like Beth and Gen, come in. They dedicate their time to supporting these young people. They build their confidence. Teach them life skills. Help them rebuild.
Gen is a befriender at our refugee service in London. Befrienders help young people pursue interests, make friends, get involved in the community.
‘I actually get a bit emotional talking to friends and family about my volunteering. It feels really valuable to do something that's entirely about putting the young person first and seeing what small difference you can make to their lives.’
Gift working with refugees
It's been such a gift talking with the young person throughout this last year or so.
‘I think our weekly catch ups have been great for both of us. For me, his laidback, cheeky spirit was such a tonic in this challenging period. For him, it's meant something to just have someone checking in, and talking through the rapid changes that were happening as we went in and out of lockdown.’
Striking a chord
Striking a chord
Through our Golden Ticket project, the young person Gen’s befriending received funding to put towards an item of his choice. Being passionate about music, he chose to get a guitar. Gen was able to help teach him each week.
‘It's been a quiet joy seeing him get into music. He's a very relaxed and easygoing person but when the guitar arrived he was delighted. This made my day! Each video call we have now, he answers the phone already with the guitar in his arms, ready to go.’
‘This has been a great outlet. I'm really pleased to see how focused he is in our little lessons.’
Beth, youth group volunteer
Beth volunteers with our ST4R group, a group of young refugees and asylum seekers who meet and discuss topics that are important to them. They also help mentor other young refugees, giving support and advice.
‘As a volunteer I help facilitate discussions between the young people we support and others in the community. I check in with the young people on their progress in studies and other life goals to make sure they are doing well or to see if I can help them in any way.
I wanted to make a positive difference to the lives of others.
Making a mark
‘One of my favourite moments with the group was designing a wall mural and spending the day on the canal painting it. We left a powerful message along a part of the Leeds canal path. This made me realise what a unique and privileged opportunity I have to volunteer with this group.’
‘I think the best thing about being a volunteer is the sense of community, friendship and trust. Watching the ST4R group grow has been so heart-warming and inspiring.’
My hope is that the young people I’ve spoken with are able to realise and achieve their dreams.
A friend in need
We couldn't do the important work we do with young refugees and migrants without our inspiring volunteers. They give up their time to help build a brighter future for young people. They continue to surprise and inspire us each day.
As Beth says, ‘volunteering allows you to participate in things you wouldn’t usually witness in your daily or even working life. It inspires me to work harder and challenge others on misconceptions or prejudices they have about refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The wealth of the time you donate to others far outweighs the time you would save by not doing so.'
It is such a wonderful experience.