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Volunteering Connector Volunteer

London, Greater London (On-site)
Unpaid role, expenses paid

Actively Interviewing

This organisation is scheduling interviews as applications come in. They're ready to hire as soon as they find the right person. Don't miss your opportunity, apply now!

Job description

About CARAS: 

CARAS is a leading refugee charity in Southwest London, providing firm foundations for new-arrival asylum seekers to build happy and successful lives. Arriving as an asylum seeker in the UK can be a terrifying and disempowering experience. Difficulties with language, accessing services and overcoming prejudice are ever-present. We exist to help people seeking asylum overcome those challenges and to help them rebuild their lives.  

We provide person-centred educational, social and casework support to over 600 young people and adults across South London each year, recognising the moment of arrival as one of opportunity. Our work provides individuals with essential support to build language and employability skills, develop social networks and friendships, and access essential services such as legal and mental health services. Our work has a multi-generational impact, providing forced migrants with early interventions to support language and skill acquisition, and tackling the root causes of socio-economic marginalisation by supporting social inclusion and future labour market access.  


Volunteering with CARAS - our Community of Welcome:  

CARAS has a proud history of volunteers helping us deliver our charitable aims. Volunteers are an essential part of the CARAS community, bringing skills, insights, experience, different languages, and enthusiasm to the roles.  Community members tell us that welcome by volunteers is so important in an often hostile world. It helps them feel safe and valued. Community is at the heart of all we do, and we could not deliver the projects we do without the enormous contribution that volunteers bring. 


About the CARAS Adult Programme: 

Alongside educational and casework support, CARAS has a thriving social Programme of weekly activities, from women’s yoga to creative coffee afternoons, sports sessions and workshops, designed and built in collaboration with our community, volunteers and local partners. Most people we work with in the adult team are waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, and are accommodated in cramped and inadequate hotels contracted by the Home Office for up to – and sometimes more than – 2 years whilst they wait for a decision on their asylum claim. During this time, they are eligible for only £8.86 per week and are prohibited from working. This is an incredibly stressful and disempowering period for those seeking asylum. Against this backdrop, our social activities exist as spaces of welcome, for people to come and make meaningful connections, build confidence and importantly - have fun! 


Connecting community members to volunteering: 

Whilst many of our community members are prohibited from working whilst waiting for a decision on their claim, they can volunteer. However, there are many linguistic, cultural and practical barriers to being able to actually access volunteering opportunities. We work with our community members to try to find interesting and high-quality volunteering roles that are accessible and fulfilling. We know from experience that connecting our community members to volunteering can have a huge positive impact on their well-being, confidence, and preparedness for future careers and education in the UK. However, as a small team, we do not have the capacity we need to be able to provide more personal, tailored support to respond to the huge range of skills, interests and experience. This is where you come in! 


Volunteering connector role: 

As the volunteering connector, you will work 1-2-1 with CARAS community members to understand what roles people are interested in and will liaise with suitable providers and partners to connect them to these roles. Part of your role will also be to explain to community members what volunteering means, including the boundaries and expectations of volunteering, as well as what rights volunteers have in the UK. This is important to ensure the volunteering placements are valuable for both community members and the organisations they volunteer with.  

We are looking for someone who is warm, compassionate, proactive and efficient. You will be good at building trusting relationships quickly and taking the initiative to make connections across the local area to find suitable opportunities. You will take a person-centred approach that places focus on our community members’ existing skills, priorities and goals to make decisions together about the best course of action. 

We are looking for volunteers who can commit to 3 hours per week and can come to our Tooting-based office. Wednesday afternoon is our preference but we are open to being flexible with timetabling for the right candidate.  


Tasks and responsibilities:  

To work with CARAS community members to understand their interests, experience and goals relating to volunteering; 

To support our CMs with their applications to these organisations and ensure smooth referral pathways; 

To work together with external providers to find suitable and accessible volunteer roles;  

To research possible new volunteering organisations that are willing and appropriate; 

To support community members to recognise and celebrate their achievements;  

To adhere to CARAS Child Protection procedures, Confidentiality Policy, Health & Safety policy, Equal Opportunities policy and all other policies as relevant; 

To keep CARAS database records up to date to support the adult team, as well as for monitoring and evaluation  


Requirements - Essential: 

To be 18 years or older; 

Current resident of the UK;  

To be non-judgemental and able to engage with people from diverse cultural backgrounds; 

To be reliable and punctual;  

To have an interest in building and strengthening community in London; 

Excellent communication skills, especially with people with varying levels of English; 

To be able to dedicate 3 hours a week to CARAS’ volunteering connections for minimum 3 months; 

Able to provide five years’ worth of addresses, and willing to undergo a DBS check; 

Able to complete compulsory volunteer induction training (online) in general and safeguarding prior to the start of the role. 
Please note that volunteer induction training currently takes place online once a month on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings from 6pm – 8pm. we offer the same trainings on Tuesday and Wednesday daytimes online between 12pm – 2pm once every 3 months. Your availability to attend 1 general and 1 safeguarding online training session at these times within 3 months of your application would be a prerequisite of being accepted as a volunteer at CARAS.  


Requirements - Desirable: 

Knowledge of community languages, such as Farsi, Arabic, Tigrinya, Amharic, Somali and Spanish 

Experience working with people who are seeking asylum in the UK; 

Personal experience of volunteering in any sector or organisation that can inform this role 


Through volunteering with us you will:  

Meet and meaningfully support new members of your local community; 

Learn about issues relating to refugees and people seeking asylum; 

Work as part of a friendly, welcoming team;  

Develop your skills and competencies;  

Be able to access relevant training;  

Be able to request a reference after 3 months regular volunteering 

Posted by
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers View profile Company size Size: 6 - 10
Posted on: 31 May 2024
Closing date: 29 August 2024 at 09:11
Job ref: Volunteer Role
Tags: Advice, Information, Advocacy

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