Befriend a lonely refugee in East London

People and communities | LGBT | Race and ethnicity | Refugees | Women

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Location: Ilford IG1 4GU, Barking IG11 8TU, Stratford E15 1SA, East London, IG1 4GU (see map)

Travel: Ilford station. Christchurch Road bus stop.

Start date: Ongoing

What will I be doing?

  • Meeting up after work or at weekends to show a lonely refugee around London. We say London is a much friendlier place with a Londoner by your side.
  • Help them practise their conversational English.
  • Help build their social network by connecting them to others.
  • Introduce them to new places and new people.
  • Encourage them to participate in community activities and free events.
  • Offer friendship and help them feel valued.
HostNation friends in fancy-dress photo booth

HostNation friends in fancy-dress photo booth

What impact will this have?

  • You will be helping to tackle social isolation and loneliness
  • You will be offering kindness to a stranger
  • You will be helping a socially isolated refugee feel more welcome and integrated in London life
  • You will be helping to counter the anti-immigrant rhetoric by showing you care about the well being of asylum seekers and refugees.
  • You will have the chance to really improve an individual refugee's lived experience of London

When are you needed?

Options available:
Available times for volunteering role
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Commitment

  • The commitment is to meet up and help them experience London once or twice a fortnight for approx 3 hrs. This can be during the day, in the evening or at a weekend.
  • When is up to you, we just ask that you meet regularly over at least 3 months (ie. 6-10 times). We need more befrienders in East London as many refugees are housed in Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. Befriending is not based on a particular location. You will be introduced and arrange to meet somewhere convenient for you.

What else do I need to know?

  • Befriending is a service and a commitment of time but it can grow into a mutual and personal friendship. This is an altruistic, social arrangement where you are giving of yourself. Our matched befrienders tell us its been a very rewarding experience.
  • HostNation asks you to commit to being a London Host to a socially isolated refugee or asylum seeker who may have arrived recently or lived here for years, but has experienced little of what London has to offer. We hope you will show them more of our great city and how they can have a new, positive experiences cheaply and often for free. London is a much friendlier place when you have a Londoner by your side!
  • We ask you to commit to making plans and introducing them to new places, new experiences and new people by spending at least 3-4 hours together once or twice a fortnight over a period of 3 months. After that it’s up to you but we hope you will keep in touch and continue to see one another. We find most people do.

Expenses

  • we are hoping to fund a pre-paid oystercard for our refugee friends in 2020. Currently we ask befrienders to cover small expenses incurred during time spent together including London travel.

Background checks

  • No background checks are required

About the organisation:

Additional Information

What skills will be useful?
  • Creative
  • Interpersonal
  • Caring
  • Listening
  • Mentoring
  • we are looking for people who are open minded, enjoy meeting new people from different backgrounds, can help them practise their English and are passionate about London
What skills can I gain?
  • Interpersonal
  • Advice and support
  • Caring
  • Counselling
  • Listening
  • Mentoring

Training

  • We provide comprehensive befriending guides covering cultural boundaries, issues you may encounter, how to handle situations, information on seeking asylum in the Uk, financial support, safeguarding procedures etc.
    The team provides ongoing support during the active befriending period of 3 months.
  • We provide signposting to other refugee support services. We invite you to join a closed befrienders facebook group which is a forum for sharing issues. We have short 'case study' films n befriending on our website.
  • We send out a fortnightly newsletter with ideas, events and opportunities for your refugee friend

Location

Ilford IG1 4GU, Barking IG11 8TU, Stratford E15 1SA, East London, IG1 4GU

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