Leeds Refugee Forum Trustee Vacancies

Would you like to help plan and manage the future of Leeds Refugee Forum?

Leeds Refugee Forum (LRF) is looking for people to join their group of Trustees. You don’t need any previous experience of being a trustee, but you must have leave to remain in the UK.

Can you do the following? · Be committed to supporting the development of LRF. · Help discuss and develop LRF plans for the future. · Work with others as part of a diverse team including LRF staff, volunteers and trustees, and Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network staff and trustees. · Attend 6 to 8 LRF Trustee meetings per year.

LRF can offer you: · The opportunity to contribute to the development of LRF as a successful organisation supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds · Training and support. · Plenty of experience which will be useful in work and community life.

If you want to find out more, please get in touch on: 07979 192991

New Volunteers – recruiting now for 2014

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting and Press Gang projects.  The Befriending project is in particular need of mature men to support older male refugees.  English at Home consists mostly of female volunteers who support female refugees.

The first of 2 days of volunteer training will take place on Saturday 5th April 2014.

Great need for volunteers with language skills

Meet and Travel Together requires volunteers with at least a medium grasp of English who are also capable of conversing in one or more other languages.  This project helps newly arrived asylum seekers find certain government buildings in Leeds and provides moral support during the journey.

You can find out more about the project here : http://lassn.org.uk/meet-and-travel-together-volunteers-make-a-huge-difference/

We are seeking speakers of all languages, however of great need at the moment are the following –

Farsi, Arabic, and Urdu.

It will only take a small amount of time every month to help make a wonderful difference to someone’s day, so if you can speak these or any other languages please get in touch with Matthew Neill to talk further about how it all works –

mneill(at)gmx.co.uk

 

Good relationships

Hello Pauline,

…I probably gain as much out of the friendship as he does – maybe more! Thanks for making the link, and thank you LASSN for giving me such a rewarding activity in retirement.

Best wishes,

Peter, Befriending Volunteer.

 

The benefits of volunteering with Grace Hosting

Hi Katrina,

I would like to say on behalf of both of us that we’re so glad we’ve become hosts and although we’ve not done a huge amount yet, we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s such a great way of getting some more understanding about the issues people face whilst doing a little thing to help them, and it just seems so obvious now we’re doing it – why wouldn’t we when we have a spare room sitting there empty?? Anyway, thanks for your support with it and I hope it continues to be successful – we’re really looking forward to meeting lots more interesting people! It certainly helps keep things in perspective when you’ve got someone there who’s slept in a bus shelter a couple of nights before.

Thanks and look forward to seeing you

Volunteer Host

Meet and Travel Together – volunteers make a huge difference

Meet and Travel Together aims to reduce stress and anxiety for asylum seekers needing to make their way to Waterside Court in Kirkstall, Leeds, for a Home Office Interview, an asylum case hearing at Phoenix House in Thornbury, Bradford, or a biometric scan at one of the post offices in Leeds.  For our service users, these are unknown destinations in an unknown city, using unfamiliar systems of transport.  All too often, language creates yet another barrier, and they find themselves lost and unable to ask for help or directions.  The day they are about to face already has the potential to be overwhelming, frightening, emotionally charged, and mentally and physically draining.  Meeting them at Leeds Rail or Coach Stations, or Bradford Interchange, our volunteers act as guides and travel companions for their journey, providing some relief and moral support.  It is also our goal to help familiarize our service users with the public transport system, so we use buses instead of personal cars or taxis.

A small amount of time with a huge amount of meaning

 Thanks so much for being there for me when I felt stuck at the railway station not knowing what to do and time was running out very fast. It made my day so much better”

Mariam arrived in the UK with her husband and three children seeking asylum from a violent and war-torn life.  Very soon after arriving, her husband, the only English speaker in the family, then left her and the children to return home.  Moved from her arrival point in the South to West Yorkshire then told to move again a few weeks later to the North-East, she was alone in a strange world with three children to tend to.  Then she received a letter to come to Leeds for her Home Office Interview.  She had never been there before. Where should she go when she got there?  How would she reach her destination?  And what should she do when she arrived?

A fellow asylum seeker who speaks Mariam’s language and is a volunteer with Meet and Travel Together agreed to meet Mariam at Leeds Rail Station and accompany her to Waterside Court, and was even kind enough to meet her again after the appointment to take her and her children back to the train station.  Though they only spent a short time together, our volunteer’s effort greatly allayed Mariam’s fear and anxiety, and helped to keep an eye on her children during the travel.

Matthew

Coordinator for Meet and Travel Together

Email mneill(at)gmx.co.uk

Volunteer wanted to help with on-line database

For many years LASSN has produced a Directory of Services in Leeds for Asylum Seekers and refugees – see Directory

We’d like to turn the directory into an online resource. Having  updated our website to use WordPres we now have the capabilities we need. The problem is that we need someone with the know-how to transform the directory from the old paper/Access Database version into a searchable/printable online directory.

If you can help with this then please get in touch.

Amazing volunteers

What amazing volunteers we have. Shirley has been a volunteer befriender with us for 10 years. In that time she has supported 11 asylum seekers and is still befriending today.

I’m preparing for LASSN agm on 12th October. This year is our 10th anniversary of becoming a registered charity. As I look at the list of volunteers who have worked with us over the years it makes me realise how supportive and generous people are. We have had over 1,000 people volunteer. Vivien volunteered for 9 years and supported 12 families. Sarah started befriended people in 2003 and today is involved in the Grace hosting project providing a bed in her own home for destitute asylum seekers. Irmgard started in 2004 and has taught English to 8 different people. She still teaches three of them. Jackie was involved in setting up LASSN in 1999 and is still a trustee.

Thank you to everyone who has helped LASSN over the years and who has made life better for asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds.

Peter Richardson, Director