Volunteer

”The people I meet at WERS show me what really matters, security, shelter, freedom, respect, love of family and friends. WERS does all it can to bring these into the lives of persecuted people who have been denied them’’. WERS volunteer

We work with a fantastic group of volunteers who help us deliver our services. We have volunteer support workers, clothing store assistants, befrienders, gardeners, admin support and donations collectors.

If you are interested in volunteering with WERS please take a look at the different roles below, then download and complete a WERS Volunteer Application formWERS Volunteer Application form and send to our Volunteer Coordinator, Hannah, by post or email at volunteers@wers.org.uk

“The generosity and spirit of all the people who work at WERS never ceases to amaze me. They are all very supportive, positive, knowledgeable and organised. All round, a very professional, human organisation”. WERS volunteer

For more information about how we recruit, train and support volunteers please see the final section of this page.

See below for information about our different volunteering roles.

Support work

Befriending

Gardening

Clothing Store

Admin Support

Donations Collection

Ad hoc

Fundraising

Special Projects


Support Work



‘’Anyone who is interested in people, and who can present a friendly face and be empathic and supportive, could do the support role. Given that most of the people we see lack a secure base and have often lost the people for whom they would have turned for support and care, it is a really positive thing to be able to demonstrate an interest in them and to provide practical advice”. Pat, support worker since 2011


Our volunteer support workers provide a few hours every week to give one-to-one advice and support to clients during our daily drop-ins. Support workers help asylum seekers and refugees understand what services are available to them and play an invaluable role in helping clients regain some control over their lives, providing reliable support and a warm welcome.

Volunteers in this role are given specific training and are supported by staff members who are always on-hand to help with more complicated enquiries or issues.

‘’WERS is a great place to be – like a tour around the world meeting wonderful people to share their stories, both the sadness and the joy ‘’. Liz, support worker / befriender, started with WERS in 2008

“Having retired from paid employment, being a volunteer at WERS has given me a sense of purpose and a great opportunity to carry on learning and meeting new people”.  Rosemary, support worker since 2011

‘‘I think for many of the clients, seeing the same face each week / fortnight brings a sense of continuity – the thread of a conversation can be continued, interest expressed in particular things a client might be engaged in, sympathy for the frustrations they might be experiencing, sharing a joke, etc”. Pat, support worker since 2011


Befriending


 

‘‘This has been one of the most rewarding schemes I have ever belonged to. We can donate money to favourite charities, which we know would collapse without people’s generosity – I believe the befriending scheme acts in the same way, by ‘donating’ people to support refugees, offering friendship and a sense of belonging’’. WERS befriender

‘‘She’s helped me to get the know the local area and she has made me feel more loved and welcomed”. Abi, befriendee


Befrienders help asylum seekers and refugees feel more welcome, supported and integrated into the local community. As the name suggests, the role of the volunteer befriender is to be a friend to the family or individual with whom they are put into contact, spending a few hours at least once a fortnight sharing activities and building a relationship. Our befrienders may invite their Befriendee (and family) to social outings or events to help familiarise them with their local community, assist them in making phone calls to help them access services or make appointments and improve their English through general conversation.

WERS’ befriending scheme was established in 2000, and is unique to the city. It continues to be one of our most popular services with both volunteers and clients, with 20 pairs of friends meeting regularly. The scheme is highly regarded by external agencies, particularly health professionals, where befriending may form an important part of someone’s individual care package or provide a lifeline for a new mum who is missing the support of her family and friends.

Our befriending scheme incorporates a careful matching process and we work closely with befrienders and befriendees to support them, this includes regular phone and email contact with both and regular formal evaluations at three, six and then 12 months.

Having a befriender can make a huge difference to a client, helping him/her feel less isolated and more able to cope with an uncertain future.


 

‘‘When I meet up with him I feel less lonely, more relaxed, my mind is not busy. I’m more confident’’. Reza, befriendee

”We enjoy talking, walking, chatting. It helps me a lot, meeting someone new”. Yasine, befriendee

‘‘When I meet up with her, it helps me come out of the stress, to forget about things”. Uma, befriendee


If you are interested in referring someone to the scheme or making a self-referral please contact Hannah on 0191 273 7482 or email volunteers@wers.org.uk


Gardeners

Volunteer gardeners help maintain the garden area and driveway. Duties include mowing, pruning, tidying as well as planting new areas and using of electrical gardening equipment. Our gardeners work more regularly during the summer months, when there is more to do in the outside areas at WERS.


Clothing Store


 

‘‘I remember all the things WERS did to help me so I want to help WERS. Being in the clothing store is what I can do to help WERS’’. Eugenie, clothing store volunteer since 2016

‘‘I love to help people, to meet a need, to serve, I see this as an opportunity to do this in a way that I have not thought of before  – for me it is a little act of justice in a cruel unjust world”. Mary, clothing store volunteer since 2016


Clothing store volunteers give a few hours of their time each week to help with the daily running of our busy store. Duties include helping clients find and check out items, receiving and sorting donations and restocking the store. These volunteers play an important role in making sure that the clothing store is a relaxed and welcoming place, providing asylum seekers and refugees with a good choice of clothing, footwear and household items.

Many of our clothing store volunteers are WERS clients. Volunteering once a week provides a welcome opportunity to help others, to contribute something positive and for some, to gain work experience in the UK.


 

‘’I just want to help people and be more active in society”. WERS clothing store volunteer, 2017

‘‘I would like to help others in need as I know how hard it is to be in need in unknown country”. WERS clothing store volunteer, 2017




‘’To help people here is very important, and I enjoy being here”. WERS clothing store volunteer, 2017

”I like working here because it helps my English and l like to work in a shop in the future”. WERS clothing store volunteer, 2017




Admin Support

Our admin supporters assist with daily tasks in the office, entering data and recording the amount and type of people we are working with and the services we offer. This helps us monitor and evaluate what we do and informs how we can plan and improve our services.



‘‘I would like to give something back to all the organisations such as WERS which has helped me very much”. Sindiso, admin and clothing store volunteer



Donations Collectors (vehicle owners)

These volunteers collect donations offered to WERS from members of the public who are unable to deliver the goods themselves. This is an ad-hoc volunteer role that depends on the number of individual enquiries to donate, which come from across the North East.


Ad-hoc Volunteers

We have a small group of volunteers who have previously volunteered in a specific role at WERS and are now providing support in a more informal way. These volunteers help at fundraising events and assist with trips and volunteering opportunities for clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fundraising

Anyone can volunteer their time to fundraise for WERS. For some different ideas on how to raise money please visit our fundraising page. If you would like more information about fundraising for WERS please contact info@wers.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Special Projects

Skillsmatch: a new digital project for WERS

WERS is very pleased to have been awarded an innovation pilot grant by Creative Fuse North East for a new digital project.
The project will explore the viability of a skills-matching website, pairing asylum seekers and refugees with community volunteering opportunities which specifically correspond to their specific interests and skills sets.
For many men and women who come to WERS, spending a couple of hours in the company of others, concentrating together on a particular task, can allow a brief period of time when the challenges they face, and their individual case, are not uppermost in their minds. It is also a great way to help clients feel more integrated and valued in their local communities and to help local people get to know clients as individual human beings and better understand their circumstances.
The idea behind the Creative Fuse North East programme is for academics from the 5 universities to work alongside industry, cultural organisations, charities and the public sector, exploring how creative, digital and IT firms can have a sustainable future in the region adding value to the region’s.
We are excited to be working with local creative agency, Roots and Wings, Newcastle Business School and Teesside University to develop Skillsmatch.
Creative Fuse is based on the idea of ‘fusion’ – the combination of creative art and design skills with technology expertise to stimulate economic growth. They combine research and practical innovation support throughout the programme of activity, which will run until October 2018.
Creative Fuse is funded by the AHRC, Arts Council England, and the European Regional Development Fund. You can find out more on the Creative Fuse website: www.creativefusene.org.uk

 

 

 

 

Recruitment, training and support

  • We ask that all prospective volunteers are available for a minimum of six months initially and all must be 18 years or above.
  • Volunteers are required to undertake training which is relevant to their role prior to starting.
  • People interested in becoming a support worker or befriender will complete our core training programme. This gives an introduction to the UK asylum system and support for asylum seekers and covers listening skills, lone working, guidelines & boundaries and self-care.
  • Support groups and also individual focus groups and seminars provide ongoing opportunities for volunteers to develop in their role.
  • Each volunteer has a Volunteer Coordinator as their main point of contact, who will stay in regular contact with them and complete a six-monthly supervision session.
  • There are also social events that allow our volunteers to get together and get to know each other more outside of their time at WERS.

If you would like more information about volunteering at WERS, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Hannah on 0191 273 7482 or email volunteers@wers.org.uk

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