Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS) is a charity that supports refugees and asylum-seekers living in south west London and helps them to play their full part in the community. Arriving as a refugee 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 refugees overcome those challenges, and to help them rebuild their lives.
We offer a range of individual and group support to people of refugee background. Our activities include: ESOL classes; social and recreational activities such as youth club, trips and family activities; psycho-education session for young asylum-seekers, educational support for young people; and legal casework. We also offer one-to-one visiting relationships to help people prevent and manage periods of crisis such as domestic violence or destitution.
About the role
CARAS (Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) offers advocacy casework integrated into all of its projects, ensuring that people who attend our groups can access support to address issues in a friendly and timely manner. We work with people to support them to understand their options, and where they can seek specialist advice, when it comes to a range of issues including: bills, debt, housing, welfare and immigration problems.
Our project is designed to complement local specialist provision by signposting to the most suitable support, clarifying and unpicking issues, writing clear referral letters and wherever possible giving guidance as to how people can resolve issues themselves.
Our volunteers are able to spend at least 1 hour working on an issue, making sure that people who access the service understand the ins and outs of their case and, when possible, are able to advocate for themselves. Our advocacy team have a detailed understanding of other provision that exists within the borough so, if specialist advice is necessary, they can always redirect people on to organisations who can.
We understand that advocacy issues rarely exist in isolation of broader challenges in a person’s life. Our volunteer caseworkers are concerned with the emotional wellbeing of people who come to the service as well as the issues at hand.
Our advocacy project works hand-in-hand with our activities such as our Women’s Drop-in, ESOL classes, and Youth Clubs and 1:1 visiting. We are currently recruiting for casework volunteers for our session 'Problem? No Problem!' which runs on a Wednesday 10.30am - 4.30pm
- An understanding of the welfare system
- Confidence in using IT (word, email, internet searches, case management systems)
- An understanding of the UK asylum system
- A commitment to confidentiality
- A high level of spoken and written English
- Ability to gather information from people in a sensitive way
- Ability to problem solve
- A calm and patient approach
- A commitment to working in an empowering way
- Ability to commit to attending weekly on Wednesday 10.30am -4.30pm for a minimum of 6 months
- Experience providing advice or advocacy casework
- Experience working with refugees and asylum seekers
- Willing to undertake relevant training outside of working hours
- Fluent in Pashtu, Tigrinya, Somali, Arabic or Dari
Tasks and responsibilities ·
- Supporting beneficiaries to read letters and make phonecalls
- Researching local policies and seeking advice from helplines and legal aid firms.
- Supporting beneficiaires to in letter writing, form filling and liaising with statutory and private service providers via telephone.
- Recording clear and concise case notes.
- Sifting information and creating clear chronologies of cases to ensure smooth access to specialist services
- Supporting beneficiaries to job search and write CVs
- Ensuring that beneficiaries are always in control of their case and have a clear understanding of their options.
- Ensuring that, when possible, beneficiaries work on their own cases with support from volunteers.
- Accompanying beneficiaries to a range of appointments so as to ensure that their rights and entitlements are recognised.
- Welcoming beneficiaries to the projects and making tea!
Please fill in the volunteer application form and email it to us. Please be specific in your application as to how you meet the person specification. Successful applicants will have an informal meeting with the Project Coordinator. These meetings will be on a rolling basis so apply ASAP.
The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.