At the Refugee Council, our volunteers are at the heart of what we do. Many of our volunteers have lived experience of the asylum system themselves and bring this expertise to their work. Others are looking for new skills and challenges, a way to give back to their communities, and to show how they feel about this issue.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who make our work possible.
An incredible 423 volunteers have helped since last year, for a total of 23,087 hours.
Our volunteers give their time, energy and expertise to supporting refugees and people in the asylum system. It’s more important now than ever. Faced with hostile policies, unfair language and inaccurate stereotypes, our volunteers show how many of us believe in a warm welcome for people who come here seeking safety.
Here we meet just a few of our amazing volunteers, speaking to their experiences volunteering with us in their own words.
“I came from Palestine. I have a lot of energy, a lot more to do. I’m an active person, I can contribute a lot to the community here, instead of just being passive sitting in the hotel doing nothing. This is an opportunity to improve my skills, meet people.”
“The local community are becoming more welcoming to asylum seekers; they feel we’re making a difference.”
“The goal is to make people more understanding about our being here—we want to send a message that this community is ours as well! We are also people who are living here, we care about this community, we are part of this community from now on. We’re showing that we care by contributing.”
“I realised that there are so many simple day-to-day things I take for granted, such as going on public transport or food shopping. My client cannot read or write in her own language, because, like many other women in her situation, the Taliban stopped her having access to education.”
“I’m from Guinea. I want to participate, I want to show the British public that I’m interested in taking part in things. Staying in the hotel without doing anything is very boring. Taking part in volunteering brings me pleasure. Any help I can bring, I will do it. I like to contribute.”
“Staying put in the hotel is very difficult for me, I find it stressful. I prefer participating in society.”
“Does it take up a lot of time? To be honest, yes! I spend several hours a week preparing, printing, sourcing materials, setting up the space and communicating with the ladies. English language and creativity, together with a genuine interest and hunger to understand and learn from other people, fuel my passion and my willingness to continue contributing.”
“I’m from Sudan… I claimed asylum in 2022, last year. I’ve been moved to a shared house.”
“My exams start soon. These exams are a bit stressful and I always tend to over-worry, and having to await a decision and not being able to plan even a couple months ahead makes it even harder to deal with.”
“Whenever I come by to volunteer it makes me feel better, tending to others’ needs and meeting wonderful friends… People in my team are very caring and understanding, always going an extra mile to help me out.”