London

Case studies

Promotion through mentoring

Eleanor says, "The scheme really appealed to me because it was about helping a vulnerable and marginalised group in society and also meant I could play a part in improving other people's understanding of asylum and refugee issues, which have been so misreported in the national press. The training TimeBank gave me o­n refugee issues and mentoring was invaluable and I felt well prepared to meet Walid.

We hit it off immediately. Over the last four months we have met regularly at photography exhibitions (a shared interest) or in a cafe to catch up with each otherís news, offer support and also go through the odd application form and investigate possible courses. I find I take a lot away from our meetings - Walid is a great listener and the conversation between us is very easy, he also has a great sense of humour which always keeps me entertained. O­n a more serious note, I also hope that through my support and encouragement Walid can achieve some of the goals that he set out to attain when he first arrived in the country.

"Something which I didn't expect to happen was that as a result of the mentoring scheme I would find myself a better job - I've now secured a job doing more work with community projects and o­ne of the things that swung it in my favour was the mentoring I was doing with Time Together. I'm getting more and more out of Time Together and it's great being able to do something positive for people looking for protection in our country."

Walid says, "I came to England in 1990, and I applied for asylum in the same year. It took the Home Office four long years to decide o­n my case and I have now been granted refugee status. While I was an asylum seeker, I found it really hard and difficult to know what to do or where to go to seek help and advice. I had so many plans in my head but unfortunately I couldn't manage to achieve any of them, because of the lack of information and not knowing where to get the right advice. If I had the help I needed at that time, things could have been much different now.

"I had a chance to join TimeBankís Time Together scheme, which is designed to help refugees to get the help they need in their day-to-day life and to achieve their goals in education and employment, as well as to integrate into the new society that they are going to be part of. Itís really enjoyable and challenging to be part of Time Together. With the help of my mentor, Eleanor, I have managed to put together so many ideas and plans, this is of course beside the good friendship that we have built between us. If I had this opportunity a long time ago things could have been much better now."

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