Wellbeing Project Support: Storytelling Volunteer - Refugee Council

Wellbeing Project Support: Storytelling 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 Hotel Project

The Hotel Team forms part of the Asylum Directorate at Refugee Council and provides holistic support for clients seeking asylum in contingency accommodation, from practical support to assisting them on their asylum journey, basic aid support, opportunities to learn English to advocating for their wellbeing through a number of different activities and mediums.

Volunteers supporting the project work with the Volunteer Coordinator and Hotel Support Workers in achieving the team’s aim of supporting clients seeking asylum.

For nearly two years, Mears (the contract holder for delivery of asylum dispersal accommodation) have been placing newly arrived asylum seekers in a number of hotels across the Yorkshire and Humber region. This was initially in response to a shortage of dispersed accommodation at the turn of the year.

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting pause on people being evicted from their asylum accommodation, hotel use has continued to increase in the region due to a growing lack of available accommodation for new arrivals claiming asylum.

The NET Contingency Accommodation Project has been engaging with residents in hotels in Wakefield and Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield and Hull, delivering health briefings, English conversation, art therapy and wellbeing sessions in addition to arranging donations of clothing and other items.

About this role

Time commitment 3-4 hours a week (including planning time)

  • Runs every Wednesday 10-12pm in Northallerton
  • Hours can be flexible according to the demands of the project

Main role To plan, create and deliver activities as part of a wellbeing activity group that aims to practice conversational English and promote wellbeing.

As a storytelling volunteer, you will engage children and parents seeking asylum in stories and other mindfulness activities to advocate for the clients’ wellbeing and to encourage conversational English.

Main responsibilities

  • Choose an appropriate story for clients in the hotel with support of the Volunteer Coordinator
  • Read aloud to the clients
  • Occasionally follow with questions to ensure clients have understood the story
  • With the support of the Volunteer Coordinator, plan and run some accompanying mindfulness activities, which could include colouring and crafts
  • Occasionally support events and activities such as days out and trips
  • Keep a register of the children attending and the parents supervising them as well as a record of volunteer hours

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

Interested? Contact Katie Oliver (Volunteer Coordinator for the Hotel Project) at HH.volunteering@refugeecouncil.org.uk for more information.