Do you want to be part of a team that empowers asylum seekers to take control of their asylum journey?
We are currently recruiting volunteers to undertake the role of Asylum Guide. The role description explains what is involved in detail. Because clients are based either in Manchester or Greater Manchester, we are looking for volunteers who live locally and can travel easily to Manchester or Greater Manchester. Please do not apply if this is not the case. There will be further opportunities to volunteer where location is not so important and these will be advertised on the website when they arise.
As with many of our volunteer roles, it is possible that the number of applications may exceed the opportunities available. If that’s the case, a selection procedure will need to happen. Refugee Action strives, where possible, to find alternative volunteering opportunities should anyone be unsuccessful in applying to their chosen role. To aid your application, please include as much relevant information about yourself when applying.
Refugee Action welcomes applications from people with lived experience of being a refugee and/or of seeking asylum. It is also essential for this particular role that you are able to commit fully for at least 6 months. Thank you for your interest in Refugee Action’s work.
What is the role?
Our clients are people seeking asylum who have recently arrived in Greater Manchester, seeking safety after fleeing conflict and persecution in their home country. Many asylum seekers continue to face barriers in the UK as they struggle with the unfamiliar language, culture and the complex asylum system. In order for asylum seekers to be granted protection, they need to ensure that they have a full and fair chance to tell their story. To do this they need to understand the asylum process and their rights within it.
Asylum Guides are part of the solution to this dilemma. They are volunteers who are matched with people seeking asylum (often newly arrived), to meet (or call) them at key stages of the asylum process and offer guidance, key information, and links to other support services. This provides people with the support and knowledge to positively engage with the process and advocate for themselves.
You’ll volunteer as part of a team of Asylum Guides Volunteers and learn about effective volunteering.
What is the time commitment?
- You’ll need to be available to complete some initial induction and training, usually done over the course of two or three half day sessions. Your training will then continue, as needed, with sessions in particular topics, shadowing, and closely supported project delivery with the project coordinator and experienced volunteers.
- After training and induction, we request a minimum commitment of one half day per week.
- However, the level of demand may increase, depend on the needs of our clients and your availability.
- Refugee Action Asylum Guide volunteers commit to the service for at least 6 months.
Will I receive training and support?
All Refugee Action volunteers will receive:
- Training on the asylum process, the role and safeguarding;
- On-going support from Asylum Guides Project Co-ordinator;
- Reasonable expenses to cover travel and other incurred expenses in the local area
Where would I be based?
Currently we are mainly working remotely but plan to have a mixture of some remote working roles, while others will involve work in locations across Greater Manchester. This may be in a specific region, or throughout the region by arrangement, in groups and one to one.
What are the main duties?
Asylum Guides support clients throughout the stages of their asylum journey:
- By carrying out needs assessments as a collaborative process with their client on an ongoing basis
- Enabling them to develop knowledge and confidence in the areas of:
– UK asylum process and its associated definitions and legal framework;
– UK asylum support;
– Understanding their rights and entitlements while claiming asylum;
– How to access other support services.
- Referring, signposting to other support organisations and occasionally accompanying clients to other appropriate sources of assistance or social inclusion where possible
- Empowering clients and promoting their independence
- Referring any wider issues or concerns back to the Asylum Guide Project Co-ordinator and helping to continually shape the project.
- Keeping accurate records of contact meetings
- Gathering and recording feedback for project evaluation
- Some limited advocacy by liaising with health services, solicitors and other organisations
What skills are we looking for?
We are looking for volunteers from a variety of backgrounds that have the following skills:
- Strong English language skills and It would be desirable to be able to speak another language
- Understanding of and commitment to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers;
- A positive approach to working in a multi-cultural and multi-racial setting;
- Reliable, punctual and organised volunteers, with the ability to plan journeys and client meetings.
- Basic IT skills
- A basic understanding of and commitment to principles of equal opportunities and confidentiality.
- Ability to understand, communicate and simplify complex information to clients with differing levels of education;
- Willingness to develop new knowledge and skills;
- Some experience of working to support vulnerable people is desirable.
We ask for 2 references and DBS clearance from all our volunteers
To express your interest and for further role specific enquiries please email: DonnaM@refugee-action.org.uk