VOLUNTEERS in Coventry are being recruited to support asylum seekers settle in the city.
As the city continues to welcome refugee families, national volunteering charity TimeBank is urging local people to train as mentors.
The charity’s Time Together project is looking for local people who can spare about five hours a month for six months to offer practical support to help people settle in their new communities and take a full part in British life.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, said: “There can be hostility among hosting communities to new refugees.
“But the majority of refugees are a valuable resource, providing motivated individuals who, with the right support, are willing to work and learn, with a strong desire to prosper in their new country.
“By offering that support, volunteer mentors can make a vital contribution to community integration.”
Volunteers will not be able to gain experience and a reference, but will learn more about the issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers.
Over a period of three years, the project aims to train and match 45 volunteers to 45 refugees and asylum seekers.
It also hopes to build on the success of TimeBank’s original Time Together project which ran from 2002–2010 and recruited and matched over 2,500 refugees with volunteer mentors.
After a year of mentoring, 90 per cent of beneficiaries said they felt at home in the UK and 98 per cent said their English language proficiency had improved.
Visit www.timebank.org.uk/time-together or email email@example.com to find out more about the Time Together initiative.