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Volunteer Guidance March 2021: the Roadmap out of Lockdown 3

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2021-03-02T12:10:57+00:002nd March, 2021|Categories: Befriending, Connecting Opportunities, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Resources, Volunteering|

Last week, the Prime Minister announced a new Roadmap to relaxing the Pandemic restrictions. This sets out a loose timetable of how the Government predicts restrictions will be lifted, from 8th March 2021 (when children will return to face to face schooling and one-to-one socialising in public spaces becomes possible.)  If you are looking for useful summaries you can share, both the BBC and The Guardian explanations work well in Google Translate, (as does this one from AgeUK) and the multilingual resources on the Migrant Info Hub are also reliable and accessible.    LASSN’s position remains the same as it was last March and last July: that Staff and Volunteers should Keep up to date with (and follow) the official advice and guidance from Government and Public Health Make sure the person you support is getting the free monthly phone credit offered by LASSN Proceed with caution, especially if your actions/activities could increase the risk of infection for you and the people you support Although mass vaccination has helped to reduce the number of people getting very sick with Covid-19 - please be aware The science shows that most of the people we support are at significantly higher risk of infection and severe illness than the wider population Most LASSN clients have not received a first dose of the vaccine yet Our clients are likely to take their lead from you about what is acceptable and not acceptable. So the way you go about planning/actually meeting up will likely influence how they start meeting and socialising with others Even if you have been vaccinated, and the person you are meeting has been vaccinated, this does not mean you are both "safe" or that you can act as if restrictions don't apply. None of the current vaccines have been proven to reduce the spread of infection, so it is still important to reduce your possible exposure to the virus by limiting the number of people you see, and prevent transmission of the virus via masks and social distancing.   So, if and when you and the person you support judge the right time to meet up in person  Do so within the official advice and guidance from Government and Public Health Choose a method of contact that suits both you and the person you are supporting (and the other members of their household) and consider the questions we posed at the bottom of the guidance from July 2020  Please speak with your Volunteers Manager before you do, so we can make sure you have everything you need to do this safely LASSN’s activities will resume at a pace we all feel comfortable with, with risks identified and managed carefully. There are no plans to re-occupy our offices as our main place of work just yet, and certainly not until we’ve been able to see the impact of Step Four. Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm over the last year, particularly through the last few months of Lockdown3. It has been hard for [...]

Guidance for LASSN Volunteers during Tier 5 aka Lockdown 3, from 6th January 2021

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2021-01-06T17:38:20+00:006th January, 2021|Categories: Befriending, Connecting Opportunities, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Headline posts, Volunteering|

Although we’re all still getting used to what Tier 5 means – it’s clear that we’ll be in it for at least a couple of months, so it feels right to communicate our thinking on things (so far) with a smile and a sigh and to hopefully provide some useful resources to help you in your volunteering. We’re really grateful to everyone who continues to give their time and support to the asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants we know. Your kindness, compassion and willingness to bend and flex are massively appreciated. Thank you on behalf of everyone that LASSN supports, the staff team, Trustees and everyone else who donates their time, money and goodwill. Jon Beech, Director What are the new Tier 5 Rules?  Here are the Government’s “Stay at Home” rules What does this mean for volunteering at LASSN? The Government summarise their current restrictions as message as “Stay Home”. We want our advice to be equally clear and consistent. So we are advising everyone - volunteers and the people they support - to be extremely cautious and to act as if they have the virus, and to avoid meeting up for the duration of the Tier 5 restrictions. The Government rules say I can leave the house for volunteering – so why can’t I meet up? Yes, it’s possible to argue this – but the situation is complicated: different volunteers and clients have different clinical vulnerabilities. (People from migrant backgrounds remain over-represented in the number of people contracting and dying of COVID). The rules for meeting up – even socially distanced and outside – are also not simple. For example, you can walk together, but you can’t sit down on a bench together. The person you wish to meet may not be able to bring children/dependents with them. There are also risks associated with travelling to and from an outdoors meeting place. If you believe someone really needs contact in person, please discuss this with your Volunteers Manager and we will work out how they can get the support they need. This is so upsetting and frustrating. Yes. It is. We are trying to do everything we can to help to support people as best we can, but the new strain of COVID makes it even more difficult than it was in March 2020. We also have a duty of care towards our volunteers and staff – so we cannot and will not ask you to put you (or the people you live with) at extra risk. So – what can we do? Staying in touch by phone is really really important. Texts and messaging are really good ways of staying in touch, and are sometimes easier than awkward conversations. Over Christmas we doubled the amount of support with phone costs from £10 per month to £20 per month. (there are PAYGO SIMs with unlimited calls/data/texts for £20 per month). We will continue to provide all LASSN volunteers and clients with up to £20 a month towards [...]

Refugee Week 2020 Day 5: Connecting Opportunities

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2020-06-19T08:21:22+01:0019th June, 2020|Categories: Connecting Opportunities, Headline posts|

We’re using Refugee Week as a way to explain how the work of LASSN has changed during Lockdown. Each day we’re offering examples of how we’ve adapted what we do, to make sure asylum seekers and refugees and other migrants at risk of harm remain supported, empowered, and integrated. What's changed? Like all the other LASSN projects that depend on face to face contact and support, Lockdown has been very disruptive. New referrals have been put on hold and we've suspended volunteer recruitment until we can do this safely. However, we've also been able to ensure that people who are still waiting to be matched with a CO befriender have not been left on their own. We've trained and deployed existing volunteers to become temporary ‘CO Telephone Befrienders’ to make sure everyone on CO Befriending waiting list has some form of contact during lockdown. As cafes and trips out are no longer possible, Volunteer Befrienders are now reliant on phone contact, Whatsapp, or Zoom to keep in touch. Everyone has been offered extra phone credit to help to make this happen and some matches are speaking more regularly now they are not meeting face-to-face! We've developed a weekly peer-support session for all LASSN volunteers called ‘Monday Meet Up’ to help share ideas and sharpen our online support skills. The online learning resources developed by English at Home have been particularly useful for Befrienders looking for virtual activities to do with their Befriendee A few participants decided to postpone Befriending for the time being – because they are too busy with childcare responsibilities, or – due to the emotional strain of Covid-19 - they just don’t feel able to focus on Befriending right now Our ‘Tea and Talk’ sessions have moved online, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of our brilliant volunteers. Taking a large-ish social group running in a massive cafe in town on line is no small feat - and takes a lot of energy to rapidly overcome the barriers of confidence, technical knowledge, and equipment to get online, get into the meeting, feel welcomed and supported and for it also to be fun! We've done this by focusing on what's important to the folks who attend tea and talk - using a ‘Tea & Talk’ Whatsapp group to make communication easier and to choose topics for conversation. We've also made us of a lot of visual aids to facilitate conversations, i.e. ‘Show and Tell’: sharing an object that is special to you with the group, and explaining why it's special; sharing decorations made during Ramadan, photos and recipes. “Thank you…You don’t know how much I enjoy these lovely two hour talks. Time really flies.” I’m Laura . I’m Egyptian. I have been in the UK since 2014. I came first to North Wales. I stayed 2.5 years there . I felt so lonely . I didn’t know anybody there. Nobody asked about me . I felt very depressed. After this my husband came to Leeds and started a [...]

Job: Volunteers Manager (Connecting Opportunities: Mentoring & Befriending) £26k

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2019-08-05T14:21:21+01:0025th October, 2018|Categories: Connecting Opportunities, Vacancies|

We are looking for a Volunteers Manager to  oversee the work of LASSN’s Connecting Opportunities: Mentoring and Befriending Project, to enable refugees and other migrants with a right to stay in the UK to increase their confidence, improve their spoken English, and to understand and make stronger connections with their neighbourhoods and communities. Salary: NJC Scale SO1 (SCP29-31) £26,470 - £28,221 Hours: 37 hours a week Location: LASSN office, Oak House, Leeds LS3 1EL Closing date for applications: 9am Monday 12th November 2018. People with lived experience of migration with relevant skills and experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications on a Job-Share or Secondment basis considered This funding for this post ends at the end of June 2019, although it may be extended. The person we appoint will • have at least 12 months’ experience of supporting volunteers, • enjoy working flexibly in a small, friendly team. • share LASSN’s commitment to ensuring asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants at risk of harm are safe, respected, supported and empowered to rebuild their lives free of persecution; • have a commitment to helping ordinary people find ways of making Leeds a friendlier, more welcoming city. • be confident working with IT (including Microsoft Office) and • enjoy helping other people learn and acquire new skills. Their can-do approach, and ability to complete tasks to agreed deadlines will play a key role in the smooth running of a team that values diversity, kindness, and high standards of support. The closing date for applications is 9am Monday 12th November 2018; Shortlisted candidates will be informed by 17:30 on Friday 16th November 2018; Interviews will be held on Tuesday 20th November 2018 If you want to have an informal conversation about this role call Jon Beech on 07845 298047 during office hours. Download an application pack as a zip or download the separate documents below Background info on LASSN CO Advertisement CO Application form CO Cover Letter CO Volunteers Manager JD (Befriending) CO Volunteers Manager PS (Befriending) Final

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