TimeBank helps refugees through the challenges of a new job in a new country

Refugees in North and East London are to receive more support into employment thanks to a new partnership between national volunteering charity TimeBank and the award-winning social enterprise Renaisi.

The RISE—Refugees Into Sustainable Employment—project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund and will run to December 2019 with the goal of supporting 810 refugees across the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest. 

TimeBank’s role on this exciting project is to recruit and train volunteers as mentors to support 65 refugees through the challenges of working in a new place with different professional and cultural norms and to overcome any insecurity, isolation and anxiety they may feel about settling and working in a new country.

Over a six month mentoring relationship, mentors and mentees will meet for around five hours a month, working together to achieve the goal of staying in employment, to promote their overall wellbeing and strengthen community cohesion.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, says: “We bring a wealth of experience to the RISE project. Our first refugee mentoring project, Time Together, recruited and matched over 2,500 refugees with volunteer mentors. It demonstrated that volunteers can play an extremely effective role in advancing social integration. 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. At the end of the RISE project, we hope that our beneficiaries will feel more confident about living and working in the UK, have increased self-esteem, and feel assured that they can sustain employment over the long term – and that our volunteers will have a better understanding of issues affecting refugees in the UK.” 

If you'd like to volunteer on RISE take a look at https://new.timebank.org.uk/projects/rise

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For media information,please contact: Julia Shipston, TimeBank Communications Manager: julias@timebank.org.uk, tel: 0771316 3003.

Notes to editors

·        The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small local projects

·        It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £583 million and supported around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

·        Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

·        The BBO project has received up to £300 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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. Website: www.timebank.org.uk