Neighbours for Newcomers

Local volunteers can welcome and support skilled healthcare workers forced to flee their home countries as they begin new careers and find homes in communities across the UK.

About Neighbours for Newcomers

Newcomers welcomed so far

The programme was piloted in mid 2021. Since then, volunteers have welcomed newcomers to 25 different UK locations.

Volunteers welcomed and supported the first nurses in Dewsbury, Great Yarmouth, Hillingdon, North London, Norwich, Oldham, Portsmouth. Then, in February 2022, nurses arrived in Bristol, Cambridge, Chorley, Doncaster, Preston, South London and Warrington. Most recently, in April 2022, volunteers welcomed nurses to Ashton-under-Lyne, Bury St Edmunds, four new areas in London, Chester, Colchester, Derby, Lincoln and Stoke-on-Trent.  

The volunteers are a source of information and advice for more than 90 nurses who have arrived through the programme. They’ve helped with important activities, from opening bank accounts to providing opportunities to connect socially. Nurses and neighbours have been playing badminton together, going on bike rides, doing DIY, fishing, having picnics, going to the cinema and volunteering together in their local communities.

We believe that everyone is an expert in their local area and can provide a warm welcome to those arriving there.  The NHS provides training, pastoral support and initial accommodation for the nurses on arrival. But we know that there is so much more to starting a life in the UK, and so much to navigate!

This is where the volunteer neighbours come in. Reset uses our expertise from supporting groups who welcome refugees through the Community Sponsorship programme to equip volunteers with the right training and assistance to be ready to support the nurses once they arrive.

We’re excited to be working with Talent Beyond Boundaries and employers to welcome newcomers to neighbourhoods across the UK.

What does it mean to be a volunteer?

The 'neighbours' are open-minded, friendly volunteers who form part of a small team to support for newly arrived, refugee nurses – the 'newcomers'.

Being a volunteer is about empowering newcomers to settle into their new communities through mentoring and organising activities based on their interests.

These roles will be suitable for people who are:

  • empathetic, have an open mind and friendly manner

  • enthusiastic and proactive – willing to take the initiate

  • able to self-reflect and create a positive safe space for sharing ideas

  • flexible and reliable – able to commit 1-2 hours a week

You must be over 18 to carry out both roles.

What’s in it for you?

As well as benefitting others, being a volunteer can be rewarding and offer you the chance to:

  • Meet other likeminded volunteers
  • Work directly with refugee nurses
  • Learn about and share cultural experiences
  • Learn and practice mentoring skills
  • Gain personal satisfaction from making a real difference to someone’s life
What’s involved?
  • Attending an online training session with Reset and read associated material (one hour)

  • Meet as a volunteer group prior to the nurse’s arrival, choose a team leader; delegate tasks, build rapport and agree on boundaries and communication standards 

  • Provide a warm, friendly welcome to the nurses and organising specific activities based on the nurse’s needs, for example: registering at the local police station, opening bank accounts, setting up GP registration, orientating them around the local area, shopping trips, sporting and social events 

  • Regularly contacting the nurses to offer your support. It can often take a few meetings to build up relationships so be patient and let them know you are there.

  • Feeding back to Reset on a regular basis regarding what is working well but also to raise any concerns 

Time commitment

Hours can fluctuate, requiring flexibility to the nurse’s schedule. 

However, we anticipate between 3-4 hours for the first 2 weeks of the nurse’s arrival. This might change as they settle in to work schedules.

We ask volunteers to commit to 1-2 hours regularly (weekly or fortnightly) either by meeting in person or with calls and regular messages.

The volunteer roles will last for a 6-month period from the time the nurses arrive.