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Befriender - HostNation

Closing date: 08 September 2020


HostNation is a London-based introductory service dedicated to connecting people in their communities. We believe every refugee in Britain deserves a friend – someone who will value them, respect them and stand by them. By introducing refugees to welcoming British residents with goodwill towards them, we give them a chance to build relationships on equal basis that bring back humanity into their lives. This friendship can help tackle loneliness, help with integration as well as promote their independence and self-confidence. This friendship makes a difference.

Role description: 

Our befrienders offer their friendship and time to the refugees and asylum seekers who are referred to HostNation. They provide emotional and basic practical support whilst also helping them practise their English and introducing them to British culture and the British way of life. In the current situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we offer a flexible approach to befriending which means that volunteers can meet their befriendees via online video calls as well as face to face. When meeting in person with their befriendees we advise that our volunteers always follow the official government advice on social distancing.

Main responsibilities

  • Being a friendly person who refugee/asylum seekers can chat to and do nice things together
  • Offering an equal relationship where a refugee/asylum seeker can feel relaxed
  • Introducing her/his befriendee to British culture if befriendee is interested
  • Exploring London together
  • Offer some basic practical support (e.g. explaining official correspondence, explaining practicalities of everyday life in the UK)
  • To meet with their befriendee at least every week for around 3-4 hours for initial period of 3 months and to be in contact weekly

Skills, experience, attributes and qualifications

Volunteers will be:

  • Over the age of 18
  • A full time British resident
  • Not currently suffering from alcohol or drug dependency
  • Without criminal convictions
  • Able to offer the gift of time spent together – a minimum of 3-4hrs once a fortnight over 3 months
  • Own a smart mobile phone

Benefits to volunteer

The role offer the volunteer an opportunity to 

  • learn about new cultures,
  • develop better understanding or situation of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK
  • have a chance to discover London again
  • basic reference after three months regular volunteering.

Other information: 

Support for volunteer

Support and supervision: Volunteers are not supervised but they can get support through the initial 3 months from one of the HostNation core team members via email or phone. They also get peer support via closed HostNation volunteer Facebook group.

Recruiment process

  • Email expression of interest 
  • informal interview by telephone when we screen volunteers and asses their suitability for the role  
  • A half hour induction telephone call at a time suitable for the volunteer.
  • DBS check: No
  • References: Two written personal references from someone who is not related

Length of recruitment: Depending on where you live and the referrals we receive, it may be a few weeks or several months before we match you.

We ask volunteers to commit 3-4 hours every week for an initial period of 3 months. This community befriending will take place in the borough where refugee and befriender live at a time convenient to both volunteer and the befriendee.
Expenses: Not available

Type of activity: 

London Borough of RedbridgeNHS Redbridge Clinical Commissioing GroupCity of LondonLondon CouncilsMayor of LondonSkills Funding Agency  Big Lottery