SIS Projects’ Team received a referral for our Bilingual Befriending Project from another organisation in Sussex. The referrer told us about a service user who they felt could benefit from having weekly phone calls with one of our befriending volunteers.
One of our Volunteer Linguists contacted the service user to explain the project to him. He told her that he did not need a befriender but would appreciate help registering for English lessons. We sent him a link to sign up for English lessons with Conversations Over Borders https://www.conversationoverborders.org, a Brighton-based organisation who match volunteer teachers with asylum seekers and refugees.
The service user emailed us back to let us know he was having trouble completing the registration form. We called him and helped him to fill in the form. We then contacted Conversations Over Borders on his behalf to make sure that they had received his registration.
He was really happy and grateful that we were able to support him with this. He explained that he does not feel confident speaking English and does not have many opportunities to practice. He would like to gain confidence in order to improve his chances of getting work.
We decided that we could match him with a Bilingual Befriender to have calls in English rather than Arabic. He could practice speaking English with someone who would understand his first language and be able to support his English practice. He agreed to try it and our Befriender sent us this feedback after their first call together:
‘I was able to explain to the service user and help him to overcome some of the confusion he faces, as well as a bit of grammar. He expressed his excitement and joy. We agreed that we will talk weekly. I hope he will benefit from our conversations.’
You can read more about our Bilingual Befriending service here: https://sussexinterpreting.org.uk/befriending/