This month, the funding for our Health Befriending Network sadly came to an end. Since the Network was set up in 2011, we’ve trained hundreds of volunteers who have helped thousands of asylum seekers and refugees access health services.
Here are some reflections on the service from the people we helped, the staff and volunteers who helped them, and the partners we worked with. We would like to thank them all.
My volunteer helped me to access health services. I would not have registered with the GP or been referred to other health services if I had not been accompanied by him. He phones me every day to ask how I am because he knows I’m homeless. My volunteer listened to me when I told him about my past experience. He gave me hope. Zeto
One of the good things about volunteering with the Refugee Council is the good relationship between the staff, volunteers and the service users. I really like this project because it makes me feel that I am doing something positive for people who are desperate. Sallam
I would like to say thank you very much to you and all your volunteers for such an amazing service. The project has directly benefited so many of our clients and in some cases made a huge difference to their health and well-being. Helen, Red Cross
I am a single mother with two young children; one was born premature. I had lots of health problems; myself and my daughters. My volunteer helped me a lot; I am so grateful that she accompanied me to my GP and hospital appointments, even in the early morning and during the cold weather.
I am alone in this country with my children and had no one but her. She bought a cake and celebrated my daughter’s birthday at the Refugee Council’s Day Centre. I took pictures to one day show my daughter how wonderful people were around us during our difficult time; giving us hope. Turkia
Working as a health befriender has been one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. The feedback I received from my client was from the heart: the most motivating aspect of working at the frontline as I challenged bureaucracy and advocated on their behalf for rights to which they are entitled. Eleni
Your volunteer’s ability to work with one of our vulnerable and difficult clients has been amazing. She has developed a great rapport with the client and he loves to go to appointments with her. We are really grateful for her work. Valda, Helen Bamber