Do you want to be part of a team that is working to prevent homelessness amongst asylum seekers? Do you want to gain experience in a fast paced advice setting?
What is the role?
The Asylum Crisis project is a new project aimed at addressing the challenges faced by asylum seekers accessing their support entitlements within the asylum process. Service delivery will focus on supporting the increasing numbers of people who are struggling to access Section 98, Section 95 and Section 4 Asylum Support due to the new ‘gatekeeping’ approach from the Home Office.
This project is a flagship project within Refugee Action’s new service strategy, addressing urgent beneficiary need through innovative, volunteer-run, community-based support services, backed up with capacity building support for the wider sector struggling to effectively meet the increasing demand.
You’ll be part of a team of volunteers that are at the heart of delivering this service, accessing vulnerable service users through existing partner drop ins across London. You’ll gain experience of a fast-paced advice setting. You will also learn about how collect data to influence policy; raise awareness and engage supporters around the issue of asylum homelessness.
What is the time commitment?
- We’d expect you to commit to a minimum of a day a week – either 1 full day or two half days of volunteering per week (working week is Monday – Friday 10.00 am – 4.30 pm)
- You will ideally have to commit for at least 6 months, due to the duration of training provided
- 2 or 3 initial training sessions plus appointment shadowing for at least 4 to 5 sessions before being able to see clients on your own
- We expect commitment, punctuality and reliability from all our volunteers
Will I receive training and support?
You will receive comprehensive training, including on the asylum system, asylum support entitlements, processes & rules; asylum support appeals, casework & advocacy skills, using interpreters, confidentiality & boundaries etc.
We will also offer you:
- Opportunities to further develop your skills & support Refugee Action in fundraising events, public appeals & awareness raising
- Opportunities to influence public policy by contributing data and case studies
- Regular support and supervision
- Re-imbursement of expenses, including travel costs and meal allowances
- Invitations to Refugee Action annual conference, Volunteer Days, Team Meetings, other social & information events
- Appropriate insurance cover
- A reference for work or study
Where would I be based?
You will be based at Refugee Action’s London office but may be expected to work in one of our partner organisation’s drop-in advice services throughout London.
What are the main duties?
- Provide accurate, confidential, non-directive information to asylum seekers and refugees over the phone and face to face
- Make assessments of clients’ needs and vulnerabilities and their eligibility for services and entitlements
- Complete support application forms and appeals
- Advocate and negotiate on behalf of clients
- Keep accurate case records of advice given & action taken
- Complete service monitoring
- Refer or signpost clients to internal and external services as appropriate
- Contact the Home Office, solicitors, medical professionals & support groups to pursue clients’ entitlements and progress of claims
- Keep up to date with asylum support changes (information and training will be provided)
What skills are we looking for?
- Reliability and punctuality
- Basic understanding of confidentiality and the value of independent, impartial advice
- A positive approach to working in a multi-cultural and multi-racial setting
- An understanding of equal opportunities and willingness to put this into action
- Ability to read & write English
- Ability to understand, communicate and simplify complex information to clients who speak English to differing degrees
- Ability to negotiate with agencies to represent the needs of clients
- Ability to cope with emotionally demanding situations and maintain boundaries with clients who may be vulnerable
We ask for 2 references from all our volunteers. This role also requires a DBS (criminal record) check at an enhanced level.
If you are selected, you will be invited to a Refugee Action induction training course. Please also note that we usually have a high number of applications and we will only be able to contact those who have been selected for the initial informal interview, we apologies for any inconvenience this may cause
We are committed to making every reasonable adjustment to the workplace or working arrangements to accommodate people with disabilities.
If you have any query or need further clarifications before applying, please contact:
Asylum Crisis London Project Coordinator
Victoria Charity Centre
11 Belgrave Road
Tel : 0207 952 1599