New TimeBank project supports refugees and asylum seekers in the West Midlands

As Birmingham commits to take Syrian refugees in its role as a City of Sanctuary, a new project in the city is recruiting volunteers to support their integration.  

TimeBank, the national volunteering charity, has set up its Time Together project in Birmingham to recruit and train volunteers as mentors to support refugees and asylum seekers in the West Midlands.

It is looking for local people who can spare about five hours a month for six months to offer practical support to help people settle in their new communities and take a full part in British life.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, says: “There can be hostility among hosting communities to new refugees. But the majority of refugees are a valuable resource, providing motivated individuals who, with the right support, are willing to work and learn, with a strong desire to prosper in their new country. By offering that support, volunteer mentors can make a vital contribution to community integration.”

TimeBank says this is a great volunteering opportunity for anyone who would like to learn about issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers in their neighbourhood and to gain experience and a reference.  

Over a period of three years, the project aims to train and match 45 volunteers to 45 refugees and asylum seekers. It draws on the experience of TimeBank’s original Time Together project which ran from 2002–2010 and recruited and matched over 2,500 refugees with volunteer mentors. The success of the project demonstrated that volunteers can play an extremely effective role in advancing social integration and community cohesion. After a year of mentoring, 90% of beneficiaries said they felt at home in the UK and 98% reported an increase in their English language proficiency.

If you’d like to know more about Time Together, take a look at www.timebank.org.uk/time-together or email TimeBank’s Birmingham office: jonny@timebank.org.uk

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For media information contact Julia Shipston, Communications Manager at TimeBank: julias@timebank.org.uk tel: 0771 3163003.

Notes to editors:

  • TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000. It recruits and trains volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems and also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering.
  • TimeBank believes that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities.