(Photo by Sisi Burn, Talent Beyond Boundaries)
On Saturday 12th February, 27 refugee nurses coming to work for the NHS arrived in Bristol, Cambridge, Chorley, Doncaster, London, Preston and Warrington where they were welcomed by local volunteers. The volunteers are taking part in a 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. The refugee nurses are identified in Lebanon and Jordan, by TBB, while Reset recruits and trains volunteers here in the UK to support the nurses once they arrive. Each local Neighbours for Newcomers group consists of 5-10 volunteers who support the nurses for 6 months.
The programme began in October 2021 with volunteers in 6 locations across England welcoming 25 nurses. Volunteers and nurses in Great Yarmouth told the BBC about their experience.
Dr Kate Brown, Co-Director at Reset, commented:
“Since the first cohort of refugee nurses arrived to work for the NHS in October, we’ve seen amazing bonds develop between them and the local volunteers. We’re so excited to be welcoming a second cohort of refugee nurses and we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people coming forward to help.
"The volunteers have shown real dedication in their training sessions so we know that they’re going to be a brilliant source of local expertise and friendly support for their new neighbours.
"We’ll be checking in with the volunteers weekly for the next 6 months, offering advice and support where needed. We’re so excited to be part of their journeys!”
Jo, a volunteer in Doncaster, told Reset:
"I am so looking forward to meeting the nurses and being able to offer any practical advice and support to help the nurses transition and settle into their new town."
The volunteers will support the newly arrived nurses to:
Get to know their new neighbourhoods
Meet local people
Develop conversational English skills
Navigate key services, such as online banking
Access affordable accommodation
Find local activities that match their interests
Reset’s training equips volunteers with practical skills including safeguarding and teamworking, as well as covering useful background information such as the pathway that the nurses have taken to come to the UK. Reset also supports the volunteers to think ahead and plan for some of the challenges that the nurses might encounter as they settle into life here in the UK.
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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