Cost of Project
Restore have ran a programme called “Equipping Refugees for Work” for the last 4 years – they work closely with Refugees within the Birmingham Area to help them prepare for Work Life.
What is Restore?
Restore was started in 1999 by churches in Ladywood and Edgbaston to welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham. In 2000, Restore became a project of Birmingham Churches Together. Their strapline is: welcome – include – integrate. Their work is relational.
From the outset, Restore was involved in befriending and raising awareness of refugee issues. One-to-one befriending happens as a trained volunteer is matched with a refugee or asylum seeker. The befriender offers welcome, help with conversational English, a listening ear and signposts to other services. Since mid 2015, there has been a significant increase in demand for their services and also a marked increase in the number of people wanting to volunteer with Restore. Until 2011, there were two projects in Birmingham that helped refugees with employability issues, but unfortunately, both projects lost their funding due to austerity cuts. In 2012, Restore ran a pilot scheme to fill that gap. Since then, Restore has ran the “Equipping Refugees for Work” programme. Restore Volunteers are trained specifically to help refugees, taking into account the barriers they face and seek to move them forward in their journey towards employment.
From March to November, Restore run a monthly interactive evening training session. Topics covered include an introduction to CVs, application forms, covering letters and interview skills. They also offer practise interviews. Restore volunteers attend these monthly sessions to facilitate the interactive small group work. Bringing refugees together to look at these issues helps to build their confidence and develop new friendships. Restore also encourage participants to find voluntary work so they can gain UK work experience and use their developing English skills. Finally, they also encourage participants to continue with formal English studies, join Job Clubs and to work proactively with the JobCentre to go on training courses. Restore invite people they already know to attend, some are referred by other agencies (e.g. British Red Cross, Refugee Action), some come on the recommendation of friends who have previously attended, and some are made aware of Restore via the internet. Restore also promote the course through their own networks, on their website and through other refugee organisations.
If successful, what will you use your LoveBrum funding for?
If Restore were to win the funding, it would pay for transport costs so that the Refugees would be able to attend the project. The average attendance for each of the sessions is 35 members, and very often, the Refugees do not have any means of transport. This in itself would make a huge difference. The funding could also be put towards venue and room hire costs, as well as paying for materials for each session.
Where can people go to find out more about Restore?
For more information about Restore, please contact:
Jeremy Thompson, Befriending Coordinator
Tel: 0121 236 0069
You can find out more about Restore by visiting their Website