What does Connecting Opportunities offer?
Refugees and other migrants sometimes struggle to find work in the UK.
Connecting Opportunities offers people who are thinking about work the chance to
- build their confidence,
- improve their English,
- making contacts and friends in their local community, and
- find out about additional help and support available to them
LASSN’s volunteers are matched with a refugee or migrant and meet up with them for a couple of hours each week, building a relationship with them, and encouraging them to try new things.
Volunteers receive training tailored to their role and receive on-going support from the Volunteers Manager.
Connecting Opportunities works with new migrants to develop their skills and opportunities to find work and be part of the local community. Connecting Opportunities is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.
It’s been great fun, and a learning and rewarding experience for me. The training sessions really helped me feel confident about what I’m doing, and the LASSN team are really encouraging and always there for support. I’ve had such a positive experience on every step of my befriending journey, I’d recommend it to anyone!
What makes this different to LASSN’s other befriending project?
This project works exclusively with refugees and other migrants who have a right to work in the UK and is focused on helping people build their confidence and skills to get into work.
We recently delivered a short presentation on how we do Mentoring and Befriending at LASSN, and to help our Connecting Opportunities partners think through how they might approach it.
In particular we were keen to show how our way of doing Mentoring and Befriending mesh with our values.
If you’d like to learn more about how we do mentoring and befriending at LASSN, have a look at this short presentation.
The difference it makes
Magda: Taking part in Connecting Opportunities has been an enriching experience as I have met many interesting people through the befriending process. My befriendee and I come from different countries and completely different backgrounds in terms of social system and political situation, but we are so alike. We share the same interests, have the same fears and joys, which we discuss over a nice cup of coffee almost every weekend. Mona is so lovely, optimistic, hardworking and funny, so spending time with her is a pleasure.
Mona: I have had a good experience of friendship with Magda, that was so good we meet each other and spend some time together having nice chat. Magda has always been giving a positive energy and spoken highly of me. We share good and bad moments together, i’m not feeling lonely and she is very kind and helpful.
Magda: The project is aimed at helping people who for various reasons had to leave their love ones behind and need someone to chat with, as no one likes to be on their own. I never imagined how big an impact it would have on me as well though. I have gained an amazing person as a friend, got to know different culture and was amazed by its beauty. I think both of us learned something new and became even more open-minded which is so important especially now when the unity among all of us is more important than ever.
Achievements in 2019/20
52 volunteers were matched with 78 people who wanted to move closer to work
30% of all CO volunteers are themselves from migrant backgrounds
Women-focused ways of working were developed like Tea & Talk Women’s Group – a weekly social group in the city centre where women meet, practice speaking English and build their confidence; Confidence & Connections programme – a 6 week course to build self-confidence and relationships; and Mindful Movement and Yoga – safe spaces for women to exercise and make connections
New group activities were developed, including Tea, Talk and Trips: a weekly social Group exploring attractions in the city centre
volunteer mentors were matched with…
refugees and migrants
community outreach sessions