Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June) is a nationwide opportunity to celebrate, recognise and say thank you for the fantastic contribution volunteers make around the UK.
At The Refugee and Migrant Centre we are incredibly fortunate to benefit from the expertise, dedication and experience of volunteers from around the world and myriad backgrounds every day.
While COVID-19 sadly means our usual face to face Volunteer Week celebrations are on hold, we still want to share and recognise with you the extraordinary efforts and achievements of these brilliant people during the past year.
Who are our volunteers?
We are lucky to have an incredible, diverse team of volunteers with a wide range of skills, cultures and backgrounds.
Our volunteers come from a wide range of places too. The biggest recruitment comes from our clients who want to give back to the community.
Alongside that, we have a lot of university students, personal referrals and those applying through our website or local volunteer centres.
Each day our volunteers support us, they make a vital difference to people’s lives. Here are just a few examples of the great things they help us deliver at RMC.
Did you know that many of our English classes are run by or supported by volunteers?
Student teachers, ex-lecturers and those with community knowledge of the students are just a few examples of the people that help teach our English classes.
One of our ESOL tutors Judy has even taken to creating online videos to teach her class during lockdown!
Complex case support
Until very recently, RMC’s highest level advice was offered by our qualified solicitor and volunteer, Jim.
Dealing with around 716 appointments in 2019, this support helped those in the most vulnerable situations access the support they urgently needed.
Alongside this complex work, much of RMC’s advice is provided by trained volunteers; many of whom go on to become RMC staff!
Event and community support
The 12 months pre-lockdown was RMC’s busiest in terms of hosting and attending events within the community.
Volunteers enabled many of these to take place.
Our Refugee Week team organised nine events during Refugee Week 2019, Jasmyn supported running Volunteers Week, and many volunteers have come to speak to the community about RMC’s work and helped people access support.
Our volunteers Said (pictured) even designed, created and helped sell Christmas cards to raise money for RMC’s destitution fund.
Within the past year, RMC undertook its first volunteer research project.
We wanted to look at the wider impact of volunteering on the community and unsurprisingly, our findings showed it had a great impact on a number of levels!
RMC volunteer Jenny took a lead on compiling and presenting the data for a report and you can see the full work below.
During lockdown, we have unfortunately had to put the majority of our volunteering roles on hold to keep everyone safe.
Many of our team have been using their time to help others in whole new ways though!
Life in the UK support
Our ‘Life in the UK’ support provides a vital tool in enabling those who wish to become British citizens to pass their exams. At RMC, this is work is solely managed by volunteers.
Richard has started turning his classes into online content for people to still access and learn.
With 427 sessions taking place last year and a 95% pass rate on people taking the tests, it is a great way for people to learn what is required before they take the Home office test.
While RMC’s volunteering activities are currently on hold, you can still register your interest to get involved in the future via our interest form.
Alternatively, you can speak to your local volunteer centre about supporting during these times.