Covid-19 befriendingAyan Ali
I have been working on the Time Together Covid-19 befriending project at TimeBank for a few months now and it’s been a great project to be a part of.
Following on from the success of our Time Together project, we’ve launched an adapted version offering remote support to refugees and asylum seekers across Birmingham.
Many refugees and asylum seekers in the City were experiencing social isolation prior to the pandemic and most of their support was delivered face to face. During the lockdown, their isolation may increase, particularly if they can no longer access their support networks.
Time Together Covid-19 will match 10 volunteers with 30 participants. Volunteers will provide befriending support by phone, text or online video call. They’ll contact the participants they are matched with once a week to check on their wellbeing and share Covid-19 advice and guidance.
We have been successful in recruiting and training nine volunteers to work on this project so far. I spoke to one to get her perspective on how she is finding it so far.
Here’s what she had to say:
‘’When I first heard about the Time Together befriending project, I thought it was a good idea as there are a lot of people at the moment that are very lonely because they can’t go out or meet other people. Therefore this project informs individuals that they are not alone and that they always have someone to talk to. So far the project is going well, the person I am paired with was a bit nervous at first talking on the phone but I feel they are a little bit comfortable now.
I think this project can help asylum seekers and refugees be more confident in integrating with their community by talking to the volunteers, this will give them more confident to communicate with other people. It will also help with feeling isolated and not having someone to talk to, they might be looking forward to having the phone call from the volunteers. Esther, TimeBank volunteer.
I also asked our volunteer what she felt she was gaining from the project:
The main benefit that this project has given me is that I enjoy helping other people whenever I can and it is giving me something different to do. It is a great project and it should carry on.
I love communicating with our volunteers at TimeBank and keeping in touch with how they feel their projects are running.
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