16.Jun.2005

Time Together Mentoring Scheme Celebrates Refugee Successes

A progressive refugee mentoring scheme, Time Together, is this week, Refugee Week, celebrating the successes of 500 refugees who have completed the one-year programme in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Peterborough, Plymouth and Manchester.

Since its launch in 2002, Time Together has recruited and matched nearly 500 refugees with volunteer mentors. Mentors (UK citizens) spend around 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.

For regional case studies click on http://stories.timebank.org.uk/TimeTogether_home.php

Project manager Sarah Arnold said, “Time Together has proved to be an effective way to help refugees, who have escaped persecution in their home countries, integrate into their host communities and fulfil their ambitions to contribute more fully to British life. Through Time Together, refugees, and just as vitally, the communities they live in, have seen positive benefits due to the more fluid integration encouraged by the scheme.”

Time Together currently operates in six cities but was recently allocated £3.6 million from the Home Office and Invest to Save to expand to a further 18 locations across the UK.

The project aims to:

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

More than 2,000 people have registered their interest in volunteering as a mentor for Time Together since its launch.

ENDS

Photos and footage also available. Contact Louise Clifton, 0207 785 6388 / 07977 219629 l.clifton@timebank.org.uk

Notes for editors:

1. 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

2. Refugee Week is a UK wide festival that celebrates the great contribution made by refugees to UK life and promotes understanding of why people become refugees. Every year hundreds of arts, cultural and educational events are organised across the UK. Refugee Week 2005 will be taking place from 20th – 26th June. The theme for Refugee Week this year is ‘persecution’, as part of the current three-year theme of the global causes of forced migration and displacement.

3. 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

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