Time Together recruits and trains volunteers as mentors to support refugees and asylum seekers in the West Midlands.
Over a period of six months mentors and mentees meet for approximately five hours each month, and together work to agreed goals, set by the mentee. Goals could include meeting new people in the community or developing a skill or hobby. The project aims to promote the positive wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers and strengthen community cohesion.
TimeBank’s original Time Together project ran from 2002–2010 and recruited and matched over 2,500 refugees with volunteer mentors. The success of the original 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.
At the end of this new project we hope that our beneficiaries will feel more confident living in the UK, have increased self-esteem and are engaging in at least one positive activity, such as accessing a course.
For our volunteers, we anticipate that they will have a better understanding of issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers, in order to support community integration and break down barriers. We hope our volunteers will use their new found knowledge and skills to access further opportunities.