The volunteer mentors on our RISE project provide support and guidance to refugees living across North and East London. They meet regularly with their mentee for five hours every month for a period of six months, supporting them to improve their language skills and confidence, find and stay in employment and cope with any difficulties that may arise.
No specific experience is needed, although many of our volunteers have skills in employment issues, writing CVs and going to job interviews. After an interview, reference and DBS check, volunteers are invited to a training day to learn more about refugees in the UK, the mentoring role, maintaining boundaries and safeguarding practices.
They are then carefully matched with a beneficiary and a first meeting arranged. Ongoing support is provided throughout the mentoring process and we also hold social events during the year, so participants can meet and share experiences.
We hope our volunteers will gain a better understanding of issues affecting refugees in the UK – and that they will use their newfound knowledge and skills to access further opportunities, both professionally and in their volunteering.
What do our volunteers say?
“He is such a great guy – he really makes me laugh, and he’s so motivated. It is an absolute pleasure meeting with him,” says Aashish.
Mentoring is about a relationship developing throughout the months. “I liked seeing him open up,” says our volunteer Aniqah. “Every time I saw him he had a bigger smile”.
Mentoring is not only rewarding but convenient. “Meeting up was easy. We met up around the corner every week. It became a habit,” says Cordelia.
The mentoring experience is a two-way process. “I learnt a lot. It teaches you a lot. It opens your eyes,” says Marianne.
“My mentee was really positive and said she found it an uplifting experience. She said it was great to have someone to talk to, especially when there was so much going on, which could be overwhelming. I’m so proud of what she’s achieved in the last six months.”