Brummies befriending refugees

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Brummies befriending refugees

Working behind the spotlight, a group of dedicated brummies are giving valuable emotional support to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in Birmingham. These local befrienders are volunteering with Birmingham charity RESTORE which has been working in the city since 1999.

Befrienders make life for vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees better by offering friendship. This may take the form of introducing a newcomer to the city, helping with practical issues like how to use public transport, English language practice, or else just being someone to talk to over coffee.

RESTORE trains and supports it’s volunteers and matches them with people in the most need of additional support. Because Birmingham and Solihull are major dispersal areas for asylum seekers who arrive in the UK, RESTORE needs more and more volunteers to meet demand for it’s services. 

“The whole point of befriending is to help someone in less fortunate circumstances than yourself, but without being patronising. It has been a privilege that I have been able to make a small contribution.”

– Steve Jones, RESTORE befriender

Twelve new matches have been made by the RESTORE team since the beginning of the year but are on the look out for more volunteers. It is holding two training courses in the summer, ‘Who is fleeing persecution and seeking sanctuary?’, which is an introduction to asylum seekers in Birmingham, the issues they face and to what befriending entails.

Two identical sets of training courses are happening on:

  • Wednesday afternoons 8, 15 and 22 June from 2 – 4pm (venue tbc)
  • Thursday evenings 30 June and 7 and 14 July from 7.30 – 9.30pm (at St George’s Community Hub, Great Hampton Row, Birmingham, B19 3JG)

Contact Jeremy Thompson, RESTORE Befriending Co-ordinator at befriend@restore-uk.org for more information and to book a place.

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