Why is this project necessary?
Many unaccompanied young asylum seekers and refugees are very isolated. Many have no close and special person in their lives, and they would benefit from having a Volunteer Befriender (“VB”). Support from Social Services Departments and voluntary organisations is often stretched and through necessity is based on providing only basic provision. We intend Befrienders to fill this gap, and help young people to overcome any difficulties and to develop their lives. We aim to empower young people to develop a supportive peer group network, new skills and friends.
Who Can Befriend with BHUMP?
Any young person aged 16- 25 who is willing can volunteer as a befriender.
The application procedure is quite straightforward, and we strive to make it as comfortable as possible .Any young person interested in becoming a befriender will need to fill in a short application form and provide two referees. If accepted, there will then be a short informal meeting to give a brief overview of the project, its policies and procedures. Please note that all applications are subject to a mandatory Criminal Records Bureau Check, in order to comply with current regulations.
How will the Project be run?
We have adopted and are totally committed to a peer led approach in the running of this project. If young people are to gain maximum benefit from their involvement with BHUMP, it is essential that they are committed to playing a full part in the planning and organization of their own programmes and experiences. This encourages the volunteers to take responsibility for their own actions, development and understanding of others.
We are committed to following good practice in recruitment, support and retention of “VB” as stipulated by existent regulations of “VB”. This is ensured by the following:
- provision of clear written information detailing the role of befriender.
- provision of high quality training. This will include raising awareness of child protection issues and procedures, self- exploration, role-playing. Regular training and supervision for befrienders will continue through out the project lifecycle.
- Enhanced Police checks- (CRB) and written references to provide safeguards and ensure that child protection issues are given high priority
- Good partnership and collaborative working arrangements between the befrienders and the Project Manager.
- Structures for group support and individual supervision of the “VB”.
- A formal volunteer agreement to clarify roles and responsibilities and highlight the commitment involved
Why run this Project?
- It is a cost effective way of supporting socially isolated young asylum seekers and potentially preventing problems in the future.
- This will help to raise a greater awareness within agencies of the needs of young unaccompanied asylum seekers. This can lead to more interest in resources allocated to support them.
- It will also help create better networks with other agencies supporting young people and raise greater awareness of agencies that are able to support young asylum seekers.
Does the young person have to live in Hillingdon?
Yes. We will consider all referrals for those living in the wider Hillingdon area.
What is an unaccompanied minor?
A young person 18 years and under whom is outside their country of origin and not accompanied by parents or a close relative.
What age group does the project cater for?
16-21 year olds
Does HRSG cater for young unaccompanied refugees with children?
HRSG has an equal opportunities policy and we would encourage referrals of young parents. We will discuss with young parents the best way to cater for their needs.
How is the safety of young people involved in BHUMP ensured?
The befriending occurs within a group environment where a staff member is always present to manage, support and be responsible for the group.
All befrienders (16+ yrs) have completed a Child Protection Awareness course and police checks are done through the Criminal Records Bureau. Risk assessments are carried out for outings and transport arrangements are organised according to need.
What kinds of activities do young people participate in BHUMP?
The group discuss ideas for activities that interest the young people. These suggestions are then followed up with careful planning and consideration of health and safety implications and of the young people needs. Activities range from Educational workshops; Lifeskills sessions, i.e CV writing, budgeting, Art workshops, Drama workshops, cooking sessions, homework support, .
What happens if a young person speaks no English?
Whilst trying to create an environment, which is conducive to English language learning, if need be, we can contact volunteer interpreters who can assist with other languages.
Who can I talk a referral through with?
The Project Director is the best person to discuss any questions you have regarding making a referral.
Who can make a referral?
Any agencies working with asylum seekers and refugees in the London Borough of Hillingdon can make a referral. Individuals are also welcome.
Where will the befriendees (young people) come from?
Most young people will be referred to the Project by the London Borough of Hillingdon Asylum Services Asylum. Agencies working with asylum seekers and refugees in the Borough can also make referrals. Young people can also self refer themselves.
Where will the Group meetings / discussions take place?
All group meetings take place once or twice a week from 5.30-8.00 at locations in Hillingdon.
What benefits will a Befriender achieve?
- Satisfaction of helping another young person
- Increasing knowledge and understanding of issues facing young refugees and broadening cultural understanding.
- Personal development through supporting a young person
- Acquiring new skills, for example, communication skills which will also support your CV
What if I am over 25 and want to befriend?
The maximum age limit we can take for the befriending role is 25 years old as this is a peer befriending project. We were initially taking up to 21 years only, but extended it to 25, although most of the young people we deal with are in the age group of 16-21. If you are over 25, there are still other volunteer roles within the organisation you can apply for .
If you are over 25 and interested in becoming a BHUMP volunteer, please complete the attached application form and email back to: firstname.lastname@example.org