Our Befriending Scheme

Befriending has been a core part of Refugee Roots from the very beginning of the charity's work. We currently have over 20 volunteers, who generously support 25 participants. It's great that befriending can once again happen in person- it really improves our results. Even through the challenges of the last few years, we have managed to maintain the quality of our befriending service- no participant has gone without help and our volunteers are extremely generous with their time. Volunteers help our befriendees with a variety of activities, from GP appointments, career workshops, music or English lessons, as well as accompanying them to the cinema, or community social groups.   

One volunteer explains how fulfilling it has been to see a participant grow in confidence:

It's been really good that over the last two years, I've been able to work with one man in particular. I've seen him most weeks and helped him with various tasks. But the most important aspect is for him to feel as though he has a friend

We match our volunteers with participants 1-to-1 and make sure that they have common interests and are generally of the same age. This ensures that those who need support most, are made comfortable and truly feel that they have some to confide in and rely on. 

What we want to do

We want to provide more befriending to more refugees. We want more people like Semireh to feel more connected to her community. We want more people like Ling be more confident to apply for jobs. Currently we are limited by resources and capacity which means we have waiting lists for befriending matches and sometimes we miss out on key transitional times for participants where our support would have the greatest impact. We want to be able to have more volunteer befrienders who will reach more participants. 

This will cover costs for staff, volunteers and befriendees. Befrienders meet weekly with their befriendee and need around £10 to cover some costs of meeting. It allows them to meet somewhere, have a coffee or visit a local green site or attraction. These meetings are vital for the socialisation, and physical and mental wellbeing of our participants. Engaging them in public life helps them build the confidence to independently overcome the many challenges they might face as they continue their journey here in the UK. 

With just a little more funding, we have estimated that we could reach 2 or 3 times more people through regular befriending than we do currently. We estimate being able to support 30-45 participants through this development per year. Through befriending women like Awa are more confident.

My English is getting better, my speaking and understanding, my befriender is a good teacher. Awa

How you can support us

Our #12daysofgiving campaign kickstarted our befriending appeal and we've made good progress at half way to the target amount. So let's keep going and make sure everyone has #aplacetobelong, through befriending support. Donate today to help fund Befriending. 

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