Conversational English Volunteer - Refugee Council

Conversational English Volunteer

About the Refugee Council

Founded in 1951, the Refugee Council exists to support people who come to the UK in need of safety and our purpose is to advocate with them for compassion, fairness and kindness. We achieve this by providing expert advice and casework, building the capacity of refugee community organisations, and working with allies across society to change government policy.

The Refugee Council is one of the leading organisations in the UK working with refugees and people seeking asylum.

Learn more about the Refugee Council here

About the Resettlement Team

The UK Government has committed itself to the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), whereby people fleeing persecution are selected and processed in the region of origin and brought to the UK with their refugee status already determined. Under this scheme a specific quota of refugees (single or within a family unit) will be coming to the UK for resettlement.

The resettlement team in Lewisham support Afghan citizens who have supported British efforts in Afghanistan and have been resettled to the UK under the UK Government scheme Afghan Relocation Assistance Policy (ARAP). The scheme is for locally employed staff who have worked in roles which could have exposed their identities and placed them at risk of reprisals as a result of their work for the UK Government. They are relocated to the UK by default at their request.

The resettlement team in Lewisham provides advice and support for these resettled refugees from arrival, to help them access services and mainstream provision, and establish community links. Working closely with local stakeholders and in partnership with other voluntary sector agencies running similar services across the UK, the Refugee Council resettlement team promotes both the integration and independence of this group.

The Refugee Council in Lewisham works in partnership with Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN) to support Lewisham Council’s commitment to resettle families in their borough.

About this role

Time commitment Two hours a week during a minimum period of three months (Monday to Friday between 9 AM and 5 PM)

Main role Plan and deliver English language support with resettled refugees in Lewisham

Language is a significant barrier for most of our clients. Volunteers will be responsible by assisting refugees to improve their English language skills which is a key element to their transition and integration into their new community.

The volunteer will have the opportunity to be flexible and creative with the activities they undertake and to adapt these to the refugees needs. The volunteer will work in the refugees’ home on their own but will receive support from a project worker.

What could I be doing?

  • Practise conversational English, assist with writing and reading skills with one individual or with few family members
  • Support parents to assist their children with their homework
  • Introduce new vocabulary & phrases that will help refugees in their day to day life (e.g. going to pharmacy, grocery store etc.)
  • Speak English while doing some fun and creative activities (e.g. cooking)
  • Develop suitable teaching tools and materials and plan sessions with refugees; volunteers will not be expected to provide formal English language tuition

Useful skills and experience

  • Teaching experience would be desirable, but not necessary
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Good command of the English language
  • Treat people with respect regardless of their background and demonstrate a non-judgmental attitude
  • Willingness to empathise and learn about refugee issues
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Proactive, creative, patient and have a flexible approach regarding refugees’ needs
  • Confident in working in refugees’ homes
  • Confident to practice conversational English in a flexible and fun way
  • Confident and creative to communicate with people who don’t speak or speak very little English
  • Willingness to attend training (e.g. understanding trauma training, or teaching English to individuals with limited English)
  • Knowledge of Arabic, Pashto, or Dari would be desirable, but not necessary

You can learn more about this role by downloading our task description here [DOC].

You can apply for this role using this application form [DOC].

Interested? Contact Mukhtaar Ahmed at for more information.