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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 [...]

English At Home – A Review of 2020

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2021-01-06T17:15:14+00:0018th December, 2020|Categories: English at Home|

Each year, we write a summary of what we’ve been up to at English at Home, for our funders at The National Lottery. This year, we thought we’d share it a bit more widely.  It’s full of stories and inspiration.  Thank you and congratulations to all the learners, tutors, volunteers and supporters who make English at Home what it is. We are proud to know you all, and celebrate your immense achievements.  Tina and David 

A new Guide to teaching English at Home

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2020-10-14T21:46:02+01:0014th October, 2020|Categories: English at Home, Headline posts, Resouces, Volunteering|

Since the Pandemic  - and the importance of keeping socially distant - we've been trying to get as many of our resources as we can online. You may have seen the huge library of ESOL resources English at Home have produced for teachers and learners of English (we can never thank our volunteers Julie and Clive enough for this.) We've also been busy trying to support our (learners) and volunteer tutors to get online, embrace Zoom, and learn how to unmute and share screens. It's not been easy. A lot of trial and error, and a lot of frustration - but we're getting there, we think. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we now have a small stack of laptops and smartphones we can loan or give away to folks who need them., and we can provide a modest amount of wireless broadband each month to people without. We've tried to capture some of our learning in this new resource - designed for new English at Home Volunteers - but we think - useful to anyone trying to teach English online right now. Have a look and see what you make of it. If you think it's any good, please use it, or forward it on to someone you know. As ever, we're proud to share what we have with anyone who might find it useful. David is responsible for this excellent piece of work btw (although he's far too modest to say so himself.)

Refugee Week 2020 Day 2: English at Home

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2020-06-15T19:49:54+01:0016th June, 2020|Categories: English at Home, 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. So what's changed? Three months ago, LASSN's English at Home project was the only way asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds could learn English at home. And of course, since lockdown, every ESOL class is held at home, which is kind of brilliant, but also comes with its own challenges. Sadly, we've had to put new referrals on hold for the time being, as well as suspending volunteer recruitment. We're doing this until we can work out the best way of assessing the level of English of people being referred, and checking out the skills of new volunteers - without being able to meet them face to face We're still managing to re-match learners with existing volunteers, and deploy some of the unmatched English at Home volunteers into new roles (as telephone befrienders), We've also been providing weekly skill-share drop-ins to help volunteers make the difficult transition from providing face-to-face learning and support to online learning. And, in addition to all of this, Riley has had to be furloughed (working from home isn't do-able whilst the schools are closed). Which basically means David has been holding the fort. Online learning resources, free for everyone We started lockdown by trying to support our English at Home matches to explore new ways of learning, and issuing new guidance to our volunteers on how to teach in socially distant ways. We also knew that without our help, many of the people we knew would not be able to afford to stay in touch with the person they were matched with  - so a key part of our strategy was to issue phone credit to all clients and volunteers who needed it. Since then. we've also been able to supply mobile phones, and laptops, and wifi dongles using our Digital Inclusion scheme with the support of our friends at Solidaritech. We've told you before about the hundreds of free teaching resources we've created posted online (https://lassn.org.uk/teaching-resources/) thanks to the diligence and hard work of Clive and Julie our online librarians. And since lockdown, we've added a whole new range of resources for Tutors and Learners who are not used to learning/teaching online - and which are designed to build confidence and to involve the whole family.  Our friend Daniela Prataviera created a half-hour webinar on Using online communication with low-level learners and we've either found or made accessible information about how to use Zoom David writes: Head to the Ideas and Activities section for numerous suggestions that can be used straight away with your learner. They can all be easily adapted to suit any level of learner, and can be used as a starter or whole lesson. Amy, one of our wonderful volunteers, has created Read Along [...]

Playing Games for ESOL

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2018-11-09T13:49:52+00:0013th July, 2017|Categories: English at Home, Resouces, Resources, Volunteering|Tags: , |

David and Riley - our Volunteers Managers at English at Home  - have put together an excellent resource, explaining how you might use board games to help someone learn English. So far we've found 7 excellent examples, from Banagrams to Who Am I? but we are sure there are more - so we'd love to know if you have any more suggestions  - drop us a line with your favourites, and we'll add them to the list .  Click on the graphic below to see what's beein included so far... 

DIY LASSN

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2017-03-18T07:09:53+00:0018th March, 2017|Categories: Asylum, Befriending, Destitution, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Hosting, Resouces, Resources|Tags: , , , |

Many people contact LASSN to ask how we've set up English at Home or Grace Hosting or Befriending. In response to this demand for info, we've put together a page with various documents and links to help other people who are thinking about doing something similar. Click here for more information We're proud to share what we've done, and to explain why we do things in a particular way. All we ask is that if you use anything of ours, you credit us, and share with other people too.

We’re recruiting volunteer English Tutors again (at last)

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2018-11-09T13:47:58+00:0010th February, 2017|Categories: English at Home, Projects, Training, Volunteering|Tags: , , |

After almost 9 months, we're finally in a position to recruit new volunteers to our English at Home project. In exchange for a commitment of 6 months , we offer full training and support to enable you to share the gift of communication with someone who can't access mainstream ESOL classes. It's a challenge, but it's also a lot of fun, and equips people with an invaluable tool that will help them to take control of their situation, and to contribute to life in their new City. If you want to find out more, please visit our Volunteer page for more info, and to complete an application form

Friends of LASSN, January 2017

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2018-11-09T13:47:04+00:0010th February, 2017|Categories: Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Headline posts, Volunteering|

Here's a link to our online newsletter, Friends of LASSN which we publish every few months. Contents include Entering 2017 with a spring in our step A film about Grace Hosting Welcome to Iona Lyons, our new Befriending Volunteers Manager Tongue Twister LASSN's AGM  - Save the Date Positive images of Asylum Leeds Beckett University and Charity Bank donate PCs Donate to LASSN LASSN online

Safeguarding at LASSN

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2019-05-20T10:01:12+01:006th November, 2016|Categories: Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Projects, Training, Volunteering|Tags: |

LASSN has made some changes to the way we help everyone to remain safe and well when working with us. Volunteering is a key part of how we reduce the risks in people's lives, by increasing their connections, building confidence, and giving them choices. We're keen to support our volunteers' efforts with clear guidance and processes which support your work. Over the last year, we've reviewed our existing policies to ensure they are up to date, and in line with best practice.  We're not making these changes in response to any serious safeguarding concerns or incidents, but because we regularly review the way we work to ensure we're doing the very best we can. Here's a summary of these changes Staying Safe Project Summaries Each Volunteer Manager has produced a summary for the Project they manage, (Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting) saying how they will keep people safe, and put our policies into practice. Updated Safeguarding Adults and Safeguarding Children Policies Each of these Policies has been rewritten in light of legal changes, and changes to local guidance - but the basic advice remains the same: everyone should be aware of the possibility of abuse, and if you suspect something, always discuss this with someone at LASSN who will help to work out what should happen next All staff and volunteers will have these explained during their induction and training, and we'll offer ongoing training for all staff and volunteers. Revised procedures for recruiting Volunteers We'll be taking a more consistent approach to the questions we ask when interviewing prospective volunteers, and the way in which we take up references. We'll also complete Basic Disclosures for all staff and volunteers - including Grace Hosts and Coordinators -  and update these every 2 years, on a rolling programme. A detailed explanation of why we are moving from DBS checks to Basic Disclosures can be found on the Basic Disclosures Info Sheet. Basic disclosures will only show details of unspent offences. Volunteer Social Media Guidelines These have been produced in response to requests from volunteers for guidance in this area. They're intended to be simple, straightforward, and easy to follow. A Volunteer Problem Solving Procedure We've produced a clear process of how we'll try and resolve difficulties which may arise in the course of your volunteering with LASSN. We've not had one of these before, and although it's what you'd probably expect, it felt important to write this down. Staff and trustees are pleased to have adopted these policies, which will help to keep LASSN a safe place to volunteer, and provide the people we support with reassurance of our shared commitment to their welfare and security.  We'll ensure that our training for volunteers covers all relevant aspects of these policies, and we'll be happy to explain or talk things through further if things are not clear. All of the documents referred to on this page can be found in the Volunteer Information Pack.

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