TimeBank has partnered with social enterprise Renaisi to deliver the RISE (Refugees into Sustainable Employment) project to support refugees in North and East London into sustainable, rewarding employment.
RISE is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Better Opportunities European Social Fund (ESF) programme. It started in July 2017 and will run to December 2019, with the goal of supporting 810 refugees across 10 London boroughs.
TimeBank’s role on this exciting project is to recruit and train volunteers as mentors to support refugees through the challenges of looking for employment and working in a new place with perhaps different professional and cultural norms. It aims to overcome any insecurity, isolation and anxiety that refugees may feel about settling and working in a new country and to strengthen community cohesion.
We bring a wealth of experience to the RISE project. Our first refugee mentoring project, Time Together, ran from 2002–2010 and recruited and matched over 2,500 refugees with volunteer mentors. Its success 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.
This year, we supported 29 beneficiaries. Over a six-month mentoring relationship, participants and volunteers worked together to achieve goals such as improving language skills, confidence, finding and staying in employment and coping with any difficulties that may arise.
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.
- At the end of 2017 there were 121,837 refugees in the UK.