What do Befrienders do?
Volunteer Befrienders build trust by forging a relationship through by meeting up for a few hours each week for at least six months. Asylum seekers and refugees typically need help with settling in Leeds, integrating into the local community, accessing services and overcoming emotional stress caused by past trauma and the asylum process.
Befrienders receive training tailored to their role. With consideration given to the circumstances of both parties, they are matched with an asylum seeker or refugee. Ongoing support is provided by the Befriending Manager.
Befriending makes all the difference
Farid had experienced torture and was physically and mentally damaged. He couldn’t make eye contact, and swung from side to side. He was waiting for a decision on his asylum claim and was finding it really difficult to function at all.
Farid was able to trust his Befriender Kevin, enough to talk about his mental state. Kevin managed to get Farid to go to the park on a few occasions.
Just as Farid was starting to feel safer, his asylum claim was refused. He returned to a state of fear and anxiety. Kevin helped him get in touch with his solicitor, get letters of support from health professionals, and went with him to the court of appeal. Kevin’s presence gave Farid the strength to say what he needed to the judge.
Farid’s claim for asylum was successful. However, UKBA appealed against this decision. This sent Farid into despair and he was admitted to hospital. Eventually he heard that the judge rejected UKBA’s appeal.
Now able to move on with his life, Farid decided to live in London.