Volunteer Co-ordinator

Part-time: 25 hours a week (Monday to Thursday)

Salary:  £21,840 pro rata

WERS seeks to appoint an energetic, friendly, well-organised Volunteer Co-ordinator to join the Volunteer Project team within an established refugee support charity. The successful applicant will be working alongside the existing Volunteer Co-ordinator under the management of the Volunteer Project Manager to support the delivery of our volunteer projects, including our befriending scheme, skillsmatch and our volunteer led clothing store.

Ideally, you will have strong organisational and time-management skills, with good written and verbal communication skills.  You will have the ability to work in a self-directed manner and as part of a team, developing good working relationships.  You will have a flexible and non-judgmental approach to people and work, with the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with people from a wide range of backgrounds including staff, volunteers and clients.

Please find below the job description and person specification together with the application form. 

Volunteer Co-ordinator application pack

Please complete the form and send to Alternatively fax to 0191 256 7862, or post to:

West End Refugee Service

St Philip’s Vicarage

St Philip’s Close

Arthur’s Hill

Newcastle upon Tyne


to arrive by 5pm on Thursday 24th October 2019

Interviews will be held on Wednesday 13th November 2019.  If you are not available on this date, please advise us of this when submitting your application.

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Our Annual Report for 18/19 is now available: WERS Annual Report 18-19

Everyone is warmly invited to the Annual General Meeting of West End Refugee Service.

Tuesday 15th October 2019, at 6pm

Summerhill Bowling Club, Winchester Terrace, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 6EH

Tea, coffee and cake will be available from 5:30pm, where you will have the opportunity to view an exhibition as part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations and hear music from two of our former clients.

The formal meeting will commence at 6pm.

Following the meeting we will draw the raffle tickets and announce the winners of our 20th Anniversary raffle. There will also be a short performance from Skimstone Arts.

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You may be aware that we are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.  One of the ways we’re marking the occasion is by holding a licensed raffle.  The aim of the raffle is to raise awareness of our services and to raise much needed funds which will support WERS to continue delivering services for vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.

We have some great prizes including:

Two signed & framed prints by Alfie Joey (BBC Newcastle presenter & artist)

A piece of art by Deborah Snell

Everyman Cinema Newcastle- two cinema tickets

Victoria Tunnel- two tickets for a tour, including brochure

One Private Dining £50 voucher

Dapper Bear, Sunderland- free cut and beard trim worth £15

£40 Whitbread voucher (Derwent Crossing Brewers Fayre)

Zuenziga, Bedlington- free cut and sytle

Tommy Boo Masters in Hair- cut and style with artistic master

Tommy Boo Masters in Hair- cut and style with creative master

60 minute Holistic Therapy Treatment by Sarah Pollock, Dinnington

James Wood, graphic designer- a personalised portrait from a photograph

Jazz North East- two tickets for a jazz concert

Flautino music school, county Durham- a free music lesson

Lanchester Lawn Tennis club- an hour’s free tennis coaching

Plus more prizes to follow!

If you would like to buy some raffle tickets and/or sell some on our behalf we would be very grateful. Tickets are £1 each (in books of five) and are available from the office at WERS. Payment can be made through cash, cheque (made payable to West End Refugee Service) or bank transfer. Contact us at the office for details. We will happily post out tickets to you if you can’t make it into the office.

Please return all counterfoils, payment and unsold tickets to WERS by 11th October. The raffle will be drawn at our AGM on Tuesday 15th October.

Many thanks for your support which we all greatly appreciate.

Sean Gladwin

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Treasurer Vacancy

West End Refugee Service (WERS) is seeking an enthusiastic, highly motivated person with good financial acumen to join our Board of Trustees as Treasurer.

Ideally you will be experienced in managing finances, with a strong commitment to the ethos and values of the organisation and an understanding of the charity sector.

Trustees are responsible for setting the strategy and policies of WERS, as well as guiding and supporting the Director and staff team. The Treasurer is responsible for working with the Chair and Director to safeguard the financial standing of the charity.

Although based in the West End of Newcastle, applications are encouraged from across the region. The position is voluntary, but travelling expenses would be reimbursed. Meetings are generally held every two months on a Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm.

A copy of the role description is included here Continue reading

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A Befriending Story for Refugee Week

To mark refugee week, we are very happy to be able to share the story of WERS’ Befriending match Beth and Minoo. Since the pair were introduced in Spring last year, we have seen a supportive and fun relationship emerge between the two of them. We love to hear stories of what they have been up to and see photos of smiling faces! A few months ago, we asked Beth if she would contribute a short story of her befriending experience with Minoo to share with other volunteers and those thinking of taking up the role. Beth suggested that her daughter, currently studying at York University, interview the befriending pair and that she write up an article, with input and support from Minoo, who has a professional background in journalism. We recently received the finished article and you can read it below.

Befriending: A mutually rewarding experience.
By Molly Leeming (York University Undergraduate)

My mum Elizabeth and her friend Minoo, who is from Iran, have been taking part in the WERS Befriending Scheme since March 2018. I interviewed them both to hear what they had to say about their experience of the scheme, what they had got out of it, and whether they would recommend it. As I talked to them both, we were all sitting in Minoo’s living room, sipping cups of cardamom tea whilst my Mum, Elizabeth, worked on some embroidery. There was a definite sense of familiar, comfortable companionship between them both.
When I asked them about their experience of befriending, it was clear that they had both enjoyed sharing mutual interests and hobbies. Elizabeth said, ‘We have enjoyed finding points of shared interest, and just being girly, talking about makeup, clothes, hair- light, fun things which we don’t usually get a chance to talk about with the men in our lives’. Minoo agreed, saying that it was lovely to talk about ‘positive life’, as opposed to dwelling on ‘bad memories’ and negative things. Minoo mentioned going to a specialist clothing boutique, for the first time with Elizabeth, saying that it was a really positive experience. She described how it had boosted her self-confidence, ‘It was so nice seeing people the same as me, who weren’t ashamed, but happy’. Elizabeth chipped in, ‘The atmosphere was fantastic, and it was lovely to see you blossom and start to think more positively about body image’. Elizabeth said that she has also branched out and taken new risks, thanks to Minoo, such as letting Minoo dye her hair with henna, as well as being taught a variety of new skills, ‘about hair, makeup, cooking, cake decoration…Minoo is very talented’, she pointed out.
Another really important aspect of Minoo and Elizabeth’s experience of befriending is that of family life, which is very important to them both. Minoo said, ‘I love children, and Elizabeth has three lovely children. I’ve found a friend, and a family’. Elizabeth agreed, saying how her family has also gained from getting to know Minoo. ‘I could see how hard it was for you being here without your family, and that you were missing your extended family, so it is great that you have become an honorary member of our extended family’. Minoo mentioned how much she had enjoyed spending Christmas Day 2018 with Elizabeth’s family, ‘I felt at home, part of a family’. The ladies agreed that the importance of family and family connections is something that they had observed can transcend cultural, religious and national differences. Sharing their mutually held high regard for the family, has been very special for them both.
Befriending has broadened the perspectives of both Elizabeth and Minoo, who have been able to share their own cultures and gain an insight into each other’s cultures. When I asked what the highlight of the befriending experience had been for Minoo, during the last year, she replied without hesitation, ‘Christmas Day’, saying that it ‘reminded me of Persian New Year at home in Iran’. In fact, both Minoo and Elizabeth have shared cultural celebrations together. Elizabeth’s family spent Nowruz, Iranian/Persian New Year, at Minoo’s house, where they were treated to a mouth-watering traditional Persian meal. Minoo said how much she had gained from these times of sharing, ‘When you come to a new community you don’t know the culture, how people think. Befriending has helped me get to know the culture. It is completely different when you understand the culture you live in, you can understand the community so much more’. Elizabeth agreed, ‘You get to see points of similarity in a different culture that you might not have previously known about’. Reflecting on her experiences of living in the Solomon Islands, Elizabeth said ‘You get to see that there are some values which seem international. When you have realised that you have this shared bond, it can help you to realise that everything is not as foreign as you might have first thought’.
I finally asked them if they would recommend befriending and their response was an overwhelming ‘yes’. Minoo said, ‘Befriending has changed my life’. She says how much it has helped her with her struggles with depression and lack of self-confidence, and how it has given her an invaluable insight into British culture and family. Elizabeth enthusiastically agreed, ‘In getting involved in befriending and reaching out to Minoo, our family has gained so much. We have gained a friend, had a lot of fun and broadened our perspective of the multicultural Newcastle that we live in’. Minoo warns that befriending might not necessarily work first time if the befriender and befriendee’s personalities do not match and they do not ‘click’. In this case she simply advises to try again, until you find someone who matches you as well as she and Elizabeth clearly match each other. She says that through befriending, ‘You see each other as humans, beyond religion and culture, you see each other as friends’.

WERS befriending match, Beth and Minoo, celebrate Iranian New Year
together with their families.
Beth’s youngest daughter, Naomi, styling Minoo’s hair.

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Thanks to Good Gym!

All of us here at WERS would like to say a massive thanks to everyone from Good Gym for giving up their time last night to help spruce up our premises a little! It is amazing what they were able to achieve in such a short space of time! Have a read of their fantastic report of it below.

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