For many of us the thought of leaving our home, our city and moving to a different part of the world is often filled with excitement at the prospect of a new venture, and a better future. But for some the move is the difference between life and persecution. Across the world there are an estimated 16 million refugees, with the UK home to less than 2%. Regardless there are still many in our society who see refugees and asylum seekers as an issue in our country, not considering the contribution they have to our communities, an attitude that can leave those feeling alienated. Now RAY (Refugee Action York) are looking for volunteers who would like to make a difference, by working with children and young people from refugee families.
Refugee Action York was founded in 2002 to challenge the myths and misconceptions regarding refugees living within our local community, and support them in their new lives. Due to legislations most asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK, and therefore are reliant on the asylum support granted by the government. This support can sometimes be as little as £5 a day which often means families living in poverty, without a straight-forward solution. The work that RAY does helps to relieve this hardship, from giving advice to supporting and advancing their education, along with educating the public.
On Sunday afternoons RAY gathers together for their Sunday Drop-in, bringing together families and individuals from the Turkish-speaking community in York, as well as some from Africa and India, and holding a series of activities for those seeking asylum, those having been granted refugee status and also economic migrants. From conversational sessions with adults and children to improve their English, Turkish lessons for young children, homework help, to sharing a meal together, the drop-in provides a network of support that makes a huge difference.
RAY are looking for those who would be willing to support the work that they do by volunteering to help with the activities for the children and young people that attend the drop-in, and the Youth Work sessions run on a Monday evening. It could be as simple as helping a child with their school work one evening, or finding out what activities they’d like to do on their Sunday afternoon and making it a reality.
There’s no training or qualifications needed to volunteer, though experience with children and young people or in teaching English is always an added bonus. All training and an application for a DBS is provided through RAY, with a chance to come along and get a feel of it before starting. There’s no commitment to coming each week, just regularly enough to get to know people and make yourself part of the RAY community. Please note that you do have to be over 18 to volunteer.
If you’re interested in making a big difference with a small contribution or would like to find out more information simply click on the ‘Volunteer Today’ button at the right hand side of this article and fill in your details.