Health Befriending Network

The Health Befriending Network is a Refugee Council project funded by The Department of Health – Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund – in order to deliver a volunteer befriending scheme for refugees and asylum seekers to help them access health and social care services.

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The aims of the HBN are:

  • To enable refugees and asylum seekers to understand their entitlements to health and social care
  • To enable refugees and asylum seekers to access health and social care in a timely and appropriate manner
  • To help refugees and asylum seekers experience less isolation by establishing contact with local communities, thus improving health and well being.
  • To provide practical and emotional support for clients, with physical and mental health issues, mainly on a one to one basis but occasionally in a support group setting.

We are looking for dedicated and inspiring people to get involved with our project as volunteer befrienders.

What do we offer?

For our Volunteers

  • Experience of working with people from other cultures and helping them exercise their basic rights to health and social care services.
  • Experience of working within a professional context and being part of a professional team.
  • Valuable work experience within the Refugee Council in support and advocacy to vulnerable people and in-depth knowledge of public services.
  • A comprehensive induction and training programme to enable you to develop your appropriate skills.
  • On-going training and development
  • Networking opportunities with professionals within the organisation and across the sector

For our Service Users

  • Through our voluntary befrienders we provide support to access different health services, such as liaising with GPs, hospitals, dentists and other health care providers;
  • Support to access appropriate social care services;
  • Support to find and access refugee community organisations that are providing similar health and social care services;
  • Advocating on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers to ensure that they receive the health and social care services which they are entitled to;
  • Accompanying refugees and asylum seekers to medical appointments and advocating on their behalf where necessary;
  • Support to access mental health and emotional support services where needed;
  • Social support and help to access adult education, such as ESOL classes to improve their confidence and independence.

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