Restore have run their Equipping Refugees for Work programme for the last 4 years. They work closely with refugees in the Birmingham area to help them prepare for work.
What is Restore?
Restore was started in 1999 by churches in Ladywood and Edgbaston to welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers into Birmingham. In 2000, Restore became a project of Birmingham Churches Together. Their strapline is welcome, include, integrate.
From the outset, Restore was involved in befriending and raising awareness of refugee issues. A trained ‘Befriending’ volunteer is matched with a refugee or asylum seeker to offer 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 which 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.
From March to November, Restore ran a monthly interactive evening training session which covers an introduction to CVs, application forms, covering letters and interview skills. They also offer practice interviews. Restore volunteers attend these monthly sessions to facilitate the interactive small group work, bringing refugees together to help build their confidence and develop new friendships. Restore also encourage participants to find voluntary work so they can gain UK work experience and put their developing English skills into practice.
Finally, they also encourage participants to continue with formal English studies, join job clubs and work proactively to go on training courses. Restore invite people they already know to attend, some are referred by other agencies such as British Red Cross or 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 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 so this 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.
Cost of Project
Where can people go to find out more about Restore?
Jeremy Thompson, Befriending Coordinator
Tel: 0121 236 0069