Befriending and supporting local asylum seekers and refugees is central to what we do. In 2016/17, our team of trained Visitors worked with 45 local asylum seekers from 30 different countries, meeting them on a regular basis. We also provided financial support to 19 individuals who were destitute or nearly so.
Our team of Visitors and Back-up Visitors offer individuals personal friendship and support, typically meeting them once a week for about an hour. The Visitor provides a listening ear for the asylum seeker’s hopes and fears, problems and sadness. They also organise tailored support as needs arise. This might include helping an asylum seeker:
Attend medical and other appointments
Get the right legal advice
Find his or her way around local transport and facilities.
Other members of the Visiting Team sometimes assist with teaching English, applying for educational grants, accompanying to court hearings and other specific tasks.
To become a Visitor you first have to undergo a full day’s training course. These are held at least once a year. Although the role can be a demanding and sometimes daunting , many find it hugely fulfilling.
About an hour a week with the client, plus time for preparation, follow-up, seeking advice and support meetings – usually about 4 hours a week
The ability to work both as a member of a team and also on your own initiative
Good communication skills
Practical problem-solving skills
The ability to maintain confidentiality
A degree of emotional resilience
We offer a wealth of support including:
Comprehensive initial training plus a handbook and web-site material for ongoing reference
Support and advice from the Coordinators and from an experienced colleague who acts as mentor and backup Visitor
Regular Visitors’ support meetings for problem-solving and sharing knowledge and experiences
General member meetings on topical issues every two months
Opportunities for ongoing training and to attend conferences as required