(Photo by Sisi Burn, Talent Beyond Boundaries)
On Saturday 23rd October, 25 refugee nurses coming to work for the NHS arrived in Dewsbury, Great Yarmouth, London, Norwich, Oldham and Portsmouth where they were greeted by local volunteers. The volunteers are taking part in a pilot programme called Neighbours for Newcomers, which has been organized by Reset and funded through a partnership with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Neighbours for Newcomers connects highly skilled refugees coming to work in the UK through the Government’s displaced talent mobility programme with local volunteers. These volunteers will act as a source of local knowledge and connect the nurses into their new communities.
The refugee nurses welcomed last weekend were identified in Lebanon by TBB. Meanwhile, Reset recruited and trained volunteers here in the UK to support the nurses once they arrive in their new communities. Each local Neighbours for Newcomers group consists of 5-10 volunteers, who will support the nurses for 6 months.
Della from Great Yarmouth found out about Neighbours for Newcomers through social media and quickly signed up to get involved.
Reflecting on her experience so far, Della commented:
“Who would have thought that a chance post on Facebook would have led to such fun training sessions, new friends and the opportunity to help refugee nurses settle in their new home so that they can help our wonderful NHS?”
Carly Whyborn, Head of Operations at Reset, explained:
“We were so pleased to see so many people come forward to welcome refugee nurses, and we’ve been so impressed by their commitment over the past few weeks as they’ve completed their training and prepared to support their new neighbours. Once the nurses have arrived, we’ll be checking in with the volunteers weekly and offering advice throughout the next 6 months. We’re so excited to be part of their journeys.”
The volunteers will support the newly arrived nurses by showing them around their new neighbourhoods, pointing out useful services like banks and post offices, and explaining how these services work in the UK. Volunteers will also help to connect the nurses with activities that match their interests, from local sports teams to choirs to allotments, and to practice their informal, conversational English.
Reset’s training equips volunteers with practical skills including safeguarding and teamworking, as well as covering useful background information such as the general context in which the nurses have had to leave their homes. Reset also supports the volunteers to think ahead and plan for some of the key ways that they might support their new neighbour, from practicing for driving tests in the UK to finding their nearest place of worship.
Reset has been training volunteers to welcome refugees through the Community Sponsorship programme since 2018, and has now trained more than 3000 people.
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