Plymouth Hope

Volunteer

Asylum Guides Volunteers
Plymouth Hope are working with Refugee Action to deliver the Navigating Asylum Partnership project funded by Comic Relief. The Navigating Asylum Partnership will address the individual, organisational, policy and bureaucratic barriers to a fair, just and effective UK asylum system. We want to create changes through our capacity building partnership with frontline organisations supporting people seeking asylum, our Asylum Guides network enabling people seeking asylum to access justice and support, and our Stand Up For Asylum campaign in which Experts by Experience will play a leading role. 

The partnership will support 5775 people seeking asylum will have more power to navigate the asylum system. Our Asylum Guides will empower them to understand the UK asylum system, their rights and options within it through 121 and group-based interventions, thereby increasing their resilience and confidence to assert their rights, navigate the asylum system, develop local connections and a sense of belonging. 7 Frontline organisations covering 7 regions of the UK will improve people’s ability to effectively navigate their asylum journey. This network of excellent charities across the UK will take a more preventative approach and work together in peer support and learning networks across the UK that do not currently exist. We will support people seeking asylum and refugees who have gone through the system supported to raise their voice as activists and experts calling for a fair and effective asylum system. We will recruit and train Experts by Experience to speak out and influence the issues that they have identified as critical to change. 

Purpose of Post: 
Plymouth Hope have been running two projects since 2017 aimed at directly involving newly arrived asylum seekers in wellbeing and physical activities to support their integration and education. One of the main challenges for project workers has been their inability to meet beneficiaries’ expectations whenever asked about their asylum journeys and for further reassurance and guidance. It became very clear that participants needed to have conversations that also matter to them, and find in their trainers, coaches, peer supporters and mentors a compassionate and sympathetic voice, but through a conversation that addresses their uncertainty and questions. One of our coaches was once told: If you care about my wellbeing, then you should have an idea about my situation. This project will restore confidence between our personnel and participants; thus, help prevent any stress and anxiety. This project is well rooted in Plymouth Hope delivery principles and methods of Early Intervention - Prevention and Intervention. Asylum Guides Early Action project takes a preventative approach that aims to empower those seeking asylum to better navigate the UK asylum system by increasing knowledge and understanding of their rights and options within it. The project will be delivered to beneficiaries, by trained volunteers, through one-to-one and group-based sessions. 

Asylum Guide will also build up on already established links with the local Red Cross and Devon & Cornwall Refugee Support following the delivery of a successful Sport4Integration programme aimed at meeting and engaging all newly arrived asylum seekers. Asylum Guide complementing direct asylum work and will constitute an entry point into other Plymouth Hope programmes (WellbeingSports- Physical & Social Activities). www.plymouthhope.com 

Do you want to be part of a team that empowers asylum seekers to take control of their asylum journey? 
What is the role? 
Our clients are asylum seekers who have recently arrived in Plymouth, seeking safety after fleeing conflict and persecution in their country of origin. 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 will be part of the solution to this dilemma, with community volunteers paired up with newly arrived asylum-seekers, to meet them at key stages of the asylum process and offer guidance and information. Asylum Guide Volunteers will provide an effective way of ensuring asylum seekers are fully informed as they begin their asylum journey in the UK. Empowered with information and knowledge about the process, asylum seekers have a fair chance to build new, safe and independent lives. 

What is the time commitment?
  • You’ll need to be available to complete some initial induction and training forms
  • We’d reasonably expect you to commit to meeting with your client
  • Volunteers commit to the service for at least 6 months 

Will I receive training and support? 
All volunteers will receive:
  • Asylum Guides training and access to the Asylum Guides website
  • Ongoing support from Asylum Guide Project Coordinator
  • Reasonable expenses to cover travel and other incurred expenses 

Where would I be based? 
  • You will be expected to travel to the area where the client lives within. 
  • We will try to match with your preferred locality, depending on your ability to travel. 

What are the main duties? 
Asylum Guides support clients throughout the stages of their asylum journey:
  • Sharing legal information (generic, factual information) to enable clients to develop knowledge and confidence in the areas of;
    • UK asylum process
    • UK asylum support
    • Understanding their rights and responsibilities while claiming asylum
  • Referring or signposting clients to other appropriate sources of help or assistance where possible
  • Empowering clients and promoting their independence
  • Referring any wider issues or concerns back to the Asylum Guide Project Coordinator
  • Keeping accurate records of contact meetings
  • Gathering and recording feedback for project evaluation www.plymouthhope.com 
What skills are we looking for? 
We are looking for volunteers from a variety of backgrounds that have the following skills:
  • Understanding of and commitment to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers
  • A positive approach to working in a multicultural and multiracial setting
  • Reliable and organised volunteers, with the ability to journey plan and arrive at appointments on time
  • 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 English
  • Other language skills are helpful but not essential
  • Willingness to develop new knowledge and skills 

How do I apply? 
Please send an email expressing your interest to: 
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