Time Together survey shows Cardiff is a welcoming city

Nine out of ten residents think Cardiff is a welcoming city, a new survey* by Time Together reveals.

Cardiff’s Time Together project is asking residents to extend this welcome by becoming a mentor to a refugee. Nearly 70 people have already signed up to support refugees as they settle into Cardiff, but Time Together needs more mentors.

The new survey also shows there are still many misconceptions about refugees and the challenges they face.

Eight out of ten people believe that refugees come to the UK to get better health care, education and jobs. Few know that refugees are given leave to remain because they are fleeing war or persecution.

In addition, most people massively overestimate the number of refugees living in the UK. In reality the UK is home to only 2% of the world’s refugees.* But nearly two thirds of people surveyed think we accommodate 31-90% of the world’s refugees in the UK.

Time Together Coordinator in Cardiff, Adil Shashaty says:

“There are a lot of negative stories about refugees focusing on statistics, but behind those figures are real people. The majority are exceptionally motivated and determined to put something back into the communities that have welcomed them.

“When refugees arrive it can be a daunting process to settle in and become part of the community. The problems they face can seem difficult and isolating because they don’t have local knowledge.

“Spending time with a local mentor from the Time Together scheme is a great way of gaining the confidence needed to get out into the community and experience life in Cardiff..”

Cardiff resident Judy D’Albertson, 48, works in finance and was a mentor to Nawal, 38, originally from Sudan. Judy says:

“I wanted to do some volunteering work and when I saw what Time Together was looking for, I thought it was something really interesting to get involved with.

“Nawal has told me that in her group she does not speak much English so when we see each other it is a great chance for her to develop her English.

“I think it’s important for people to understand the refugee experience better and help them to integrate into our society.”

Nawal, says:


“Judy was a lovely mentor. When I asked her a question she made things clear and helped me. She helped me with jobs and I applied for more than ten while I was with her. I am now going to study criminal justice.


“Everyone I meet I tell them all about my mentor.“


Time Together mentors come from all walks of life and spend around five hours a month with their mentee over the period of up to a year. Mentors help their mentees in many ways, from looking at their CV, to practising English, or showing them the local sights in Cardiff and helping them to get to know the area.

All Time Together mentors attend a one-day training course, are actively involved in selecting a suitable match and receive support and expenses for the duration of their mentoring relationship.

Mentors must be over 18 years old, speak fluent English and be either British citizens or have lived in the UK long enough to have a real understanding of the culture and systems.

Time Together, developed by national volunteering charity TimeBank is run in Cardiff in partnership with SOVA (supporting others through volunteer action).

To find out more and to register to become a volunteer mentor on the Cardiff project, please contact Adil Shashaty on 02920 495 281 or visit www.timetogether.org.uk


For further media information please contact Fiona Lewis on 020 7785 6389 or at f.lewis@timebank.org.uk


Notes to editors:

·         50 people were interviewed in a random sample in Cardiff on 12th September 2007.

-          88% of interviewees rated Cardiff’s welcome 6 or above on a scale of 0-10.

-          54% of interviewees said refugees came to the UK to take advantage of better health care, education or benefits. 26% said refugees came to the UK to seek employment. 20% said refugees came to the UK to flee war or persecution. The term refugee refers to people who have been given leave to remain in the UK due to persecution, war or human rights violations in their home country.

-          80% of people estimated that the UK accommodates 11% or more of the world’s refugees. In reality the UK is home to only 2% of the world’s refugee population. The majority are living in developing countries. (Source: UNHCR)

·         Time Together was set up in 2002 by TimeBank, in response to a Government white paper that recommended the provision of mentoring schemes to help refugees integrate better in the UK. The project matches local people with refugees in one to one mentoring relationships. Mentors spend around five hours a month with their mentee. There are now 24 Time Together projects operating across the UK. Time Together launched in Cardiff in April 2006. Time Together is funded by the Home Office and HM Treasury.  See www.timetogether.org.uk

·         Time Together in Cardiff is run in partnership with SOVA (supporting others in volunteer action).

·         Gordon Brown speaks about Time Together in his new book BRITAIN'S EVERYDAY HEROES, published by Mainstream. For more information, see www.community-links.org

·         TimeBank tackles social issues by finding ways for people to give their time that inspire them and match their lives. We know it’s a lot to ask people to give up their time and so we are committed to finding ways that suit how people live and that addresses the needs of the world we live in. Registered charity no. 1073831. See www.timebank.org.uk

·         Add your name to the TimeBank 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. www.timebank.org.uk/mediacentre