With every new year comes the inevitable new year’s resolutions. There’s something about festive indulgence that pushes us into over ambitious, and sometimes plain ridiculous, new year’s resolutions. 2018’s most made resolutions included: exercise more, lose weight, eat more healthily and learn a new skill or hobby. Given that only about 8% of us keep our new year’s resolution, it’s not looking good for those daily spin classes and learning to play a new musical instrument each week.
So, for 2019, how about resolving to give something back rather than give something up? Give volunteering with a local refugee group a try. Volunteering has been linked to many health benefits so not only will you be doing good for others, you’ll be looking after your mind, body and soul too!
We’ve pulled together a list of some of our good pals whom you can lend a helping spoon to. So, here’s to using your time this new year to make the world a better place!
For the students among us, Student’s Action for Refugees (STAR) is the group for you. Join other students in volunteering at local refugee projects and in campaigning to improve the lives of refugees. From Glasgow to Exeter, there are groups at more than 40 universities. If you don’t see a STAR group at your university then why not start your own?
This group does what it says on the tub. Whether you’re looking to volunteer in the UK, Calais or Greece, Help Refugees has a volunteer option to suit you. From long term overseas volunteer projects of three weeks or more, to helping your regional team in the UK, you can make a difference. They also need skilled support for ad hoc projects so if you’re a graphic design whiz or a tech savvy web developer share your invaluable skills and expertise now.
City of Sanctuary
City of Sanctuary volunteers work to make the UK a welcoming sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. Local groups welcome refugees when they arrive and help them integrate into the community. With almost 100 groups across the country you’re bound to find one in your area – and again if there isn’t one in your community, you can set up your own.
In 2016 the UK government announced a scheme that would let communities come together and sponsor the resettlement of a refugee family in their area. If you’re part of a community group and might be interested in welcoming a family to your area, take a look at the government’s website or this handy document from Refugees Welcome.
The mentoring and befriending network has some great opportunities and enables you to search specifically for refugee, migrant and asylum seeker related volunteer projects.
You can also keep your eyes peeled for the launch of TimePeace, a snazzy new app which will connect refugees and asylum seekers and locals, so they can meet and share for free their skills, passions and interests.
While you're finding the volunteer group for you, sign our petition and help give asylum seekers the Right to Work.