Meet Alex, one of our volunteers who has dedicated over 80 hours to supporting refugees. Read about a day in the life of a Breaking Barriers volunteer.
Breaking Barriers wasn’t a charity I actively sought out. In fact, I had no knowledge of Breaking Barriers, nor any appreciation or understanding of the problem they were trying to solve. I found myself in the fortunate situation of having more control and flexibility over my time during the working week than many other people and therefore decided to look into volunteering opportunities to try and help give back to society in some way.
Finding suitable and worthwhile volunteering opportunities was a surprisingly challenging task. In my search I found Breaking Barriers and read about what their mission was, and what volunteers could do to help. There were three key aspects that brought me in to Breaking Barriers.
- They had a very worthwhile cause; to help people, who through no fault of their own, have been significantly disadvantaged, is an eminently good thing to do. The support that we provide helps these people become more active, engaged, and productive members of our society. This is good both for them, and for wider society.
- A role that I could do, but that wasn’t menial; It is a role that I feel is often very straightforward (for example helping to write CVs and complete job applications), but is also very challenging. Being a bit of an introvert it takes a lot out of me to talk to, and advise the refugees we see, especially when doing multiple back to back appointments.
- An efficient process to introduce and train volunteers. The process was easy and clear, and the induction and training was effective.
Whilst I find the role at Breaking Barriers a challenge, the people give the motivation to continue. This is both the refugees whom you help and the employees of Breaking Barriers. The people you are helping are there because they are keen to move themselves forward with their education, training, and employment. It is rarely a case of having to encourage them to do stuff but much more often a case of trying to narrow down what they want to do to just the most important task, This enthusiasm is a pleasure to work with. They are also invariably very polite and show their appreciation for the effort you make with them. The employees of Breaking Barriers are all very positive and clearly keen on their jobs and on helping all the people they see. This all creates a very positive and encouraging atmosphere in which to be.
Ultimately the outcomes from the charity’s efforts are what matter most and it is encouraging to receive feedback and to hear of some of the successes achieved. It is unfortunate that there is such a need for this charity, but it is worthwhile cause and one that many people, and particularly companies and organisations can do more to help with.
Could you spare a couple of hours to support refugees into work?
We are always looking for volunteers who can lend their skills and experience in a positive and productive way!