Time Together Refugee Mentoring Scheme Awarded £3.6 Million

TimeBank, the national volunteering charity, is pleased to announce the expansion of its refugee mentoring project, Time Together, to a further 18 locations across the UK, following a successful bid for £3.6 million in funding over three years from the Home Office and the Treasury’s Invest to Save Budget.

Since its launch in 2002, Time Together has recruited and matched around 500 refugees with volunteer mentors whilst more than 2,000 people have registered their interest in volunteering on the scheme. Mentors (UK citizens) spend five hours a month for one year supporting, guiding and encouraging their mentees as they seek to achieve their goals – in integration, education and employment.

Andy Burnham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, said:

"We want to ensure those granted refugee status are able to integrate into British life and make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live. Mentoring schemes like Time Together play a significant part in helping refugees achieve their full potential."

The expansion means TimeBank are now inviting applications for tender from interested organisations. Partners are needed with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to help deliver this ambitious roll-out: in this, the first round of the expansion, we are aiming to set up six Time Together projects in the following regions: East Midlands, West Midlands, Greater London and the South East. There will be further tendering rounds in November 2005 and May 2006 focussing on the remaining regions. Time Together currently operates in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Peterborough, Plymouth and Manchester.

The project aims to:

  • speed up the integration of refugees into UK society enabling refugees to realise their full potential and make more effective use of public services
  • romote positive images of refugees in the media, helping to break down barriers between cultures and promote community cohesion
  • enhance refugees’ employment and integration prospects by placing them in volunteering opportunities where they can contribute their skills to the host community

Time Together project manager Sarah Arnold said:

“We are thrilled to have secured this significant funding for Time Together, which means we can expand what has been a highly successful initiative from six to 24 locations around the UK. Time Together has proved to be an effective way to help refugees integrate into their host communities and fulfil their ambitions to contribute more fully to British life. This funding means many more refugees, and just as vitally, the communities they live in, will see positive benefits due to the more fluid integration encouraged by the scheme.”

Time Together will be delivered via an innovative social franchising method that will develop cross-sector partnerships, ensuring effective local delivery and long-term sustainability. TimeBank will enter into delivery contracts with local organisations, which will be contracted for a specific time period to deliver Time Together locally.

Delivery partners will be provided with an operational toolkit, marketing and publicity resources and access to web based technology - support worth more than £10,000. A core team with three years experience of running the scheme will assist with set up and offer ongoing support to partners

A tender application form and guidance is available online at http://www.timebank.org.uk/mentor/expansion.html

For more information, case studies and the independent evaluation please visit the website www.timebank.org.uk/mentor

For further press information contact Louise Clifton, 0207 785 6388 / 07977 219629 l.clifton@timebank.org.uk

Notes for editors:

(1) 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 six cities – London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Peterborough and Plymouth. 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.timebank.org.uk/mentor or call 0845 601 4008

(3) TimeBank is a national campaign inspiring and connecting people to share and give time www.timebank.org.uk