TimeBank has partnered with Renaisi to deliver the RISE (Refugees into Sustainable Employment) project – a new service to support refugees in North and East London into sustainable, rewarding employment.
Renaisi is an award-winning social enterprise whose mission is to help people and places to thrive. RISE is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Better Opportunities European Social Fund (ESF) programme and will run from July 2017 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 working in a new place with perhaps different professional and cultural norms and to overcome any insecurity, isolation and anxiety they may feel about settling and working in a new country.
Over a six month mentoring relationship, mentors and mentees will meet for approximately five hours each month, working together to achieve the goal of staying in employment, to promote their overall wellbeing and strengthen community cohesion.
We are able to 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. We are now running another phase of the project in the West Midlands. The success of these projects has 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.
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.
For our volunteers, we anticipate that they will have a better understanding of issues affecting refugees in the UK. We also hope our volunteers will use their newfound knowledge and skills to access further opportunities, both professionally and in their volunteering.
Due to high volumes of interest in the RISE project we are not taking any more volunteer mentor applications at the moment. We would love to have you on board with the project however so please do check the website in the New Year (2018) when we are hoping to reopen the application process.