Ever thought about how you could support a recently arrived refugee in your community?

The subject of new arrivals has been in the press recently in both a negative and positive light, but our new Time Together project in the West Midlands gives volunteers the chance to dig beneath the stereotypes, to find out about the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers in their local area, and offer support.  We do through this mentoring.

Mentoring is when a volunteer uses their own skills and knowledge to support another individual to reach a goal - and TimeBank has 17 years’ experience of mentoring! Time Together works with refugees and asylum seekers and we have found that support is generally needed around issues about accommodation, healthcare and access to education.

Once volunteers have been selected, and trained as a mentor, they can be matched to either a refugee or asylum seeker. The pair meet for about five hours a month, and during their time together can go for a coffee, a walk in the park or possibly seek out some expert advice on a pressing issue. The relationship lasts for about six months, and after that volunteers can stay in touch or be matched to someone else.  

Mentoring has been shown to have numerous benefits including reducing social isolation and improving general health. However, at TimeBank we know that mentoring can be a rewarding experience, not just for those receiving support but for the volunteers also. It can be challenging, but volunteers learn new skills, meet new people, and it can be career enhancing also. Above all though, you will know that you have made a positive difference to someone’s life.

So, if you’re interested, West Midlands-based and aged over 18 send me an email – jonny@timebank.org.uk or ring me on 07835300931.

You can see more about our Time Together project here.