12.Jun.2006

How tolerant are you? TimeBank gives you the answer!

How do you handle a request for directions from a lost tourist? What’s your initial reaction when invited to a wedding or restaurant that is a different culture from your own? Exactly how many refugees do you think should be allowed into the UK? And did you know Britain plays hosts to just two per cent of the world’s refugees?

Time Together – a unique scheme providing mentoring and support – is giving the public the chance to test their tolerance levels as part of an on-line quiz during Refugee Week (June 19 – 25).

John Knights, project manager for Time Together – which is run by the volunteering charity TimeBank – says:  “The quiz is a bit of light-hearted fun but it does, of course, come with a serious message. We urgently need more people to come forward as potential mentors and this is an ideal way of testing the water and to see if you are suited.”

Visitors to the Time Together website will be asked eight questions about their attitudes to issues such as minority faiths, interests and cuisine, tolerance when it comes to giving time to someone in need and in dealing with differences of opinion. After answering each question they will see an interesting statistic or words of wisdom before going on to be told how tolerant they are.

Since it was launched four years ago, Time Together has matched over one thousand refugees with volunteer mentors. The scheme aims to build bridges between communities by challenging misconceptions and helping refugees integrate into British society.  It began in just three locations and there are now 19 projects across the UK with a further five due to start this October.

Mentors spend five hours a month with their mentee offering them support, guidance and encouragement as they seek to achieve their goals in education, employment and integration. This can mean doing anything from helping their mentee to write a CV, to exploring the local community or explaining the nuances of British humour.

“The majority of refugees who participate in this project hold qualifications, are exceptionally motivated and determined to put something back into the communities that have welcomed them,” says John Knights

“Many are professionals – doctors, lawyers, accountants and nurses - who just need some support and encouragement to realise their ambitions. Our focus this year is on the skills refugees bring to Britain and how Time Together mentors can help refugees with professional backgrounds find gainful employment in the UK.”

To take the Totally Tolerant quiz and to find out more about becoming a Time Together mentor visit www.timetogether.org.uk

-ENDS-

For more press information and images contact Helen Wylie: 020 7785 6388 / 07784 129651 / Email h.wylie@timebank.org.uk

Notes to Editors

(1) Time Together is a TimeBank initiative funded by the Home Office and Treasury’s Invest to Save budget. The Invest to Save Budget (ISB) is a joint Treasury/Cabinet Office initiative with an aim to create sustainable improvements in the capacity to deliver public services in a more joined up manner. A key principle of the ISB programme is that investment is provided in return for reform. http://www.isb.gov.uk/hmt.isb.application.2/index.asp

(2) Time Together was launched in 2002 and currently operates in the following cities: London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol. Volunteers give five hours a month to mentor a refugee. The scheme aims to help refugees integrate in their new community, create ambassadors for refugees in UK communities and promote more positive images of refugees in the media. For more information log onto www.timetogether.org.uk or call 0845 601 4008

(3) TimeBank is a national charity inspiring and connecting people to share and give time. www.timebank.org.uk or 0845 601 4008

(4) Add your name to our media mailing list and you'll receive regular press releases from TimeBank keeping you updated on new campaigns and activity. Visit our online Media Centre for more information
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