Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do at St. Augustine’s. We have an amazing team of around 150 volunteers who offer their skills, time and compassion to make a difference to the lives of people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants in Calderdale.
Our volunteers cook and serve hundreds of meals each week. They interpret, assist with casework and offer welfare support. They collect, sort and deliver donations of food, clothes, household items, technology, bikes and much more. They do gardening, decorating and DIY around the centre. They refurbish and repair laptops in our tech clinic. They produce our Life in the UK podcasts, work on our website, do our social media and fundraise. Volunteers lead English classes and offer 1:1 English conversation support. They run activities, such as our popular countryside walks. Our centre is also led by volunteers who make up our Board of Trustees; they contribute to the strategic development of the centre and ensure that we continue to grow and develop as an organisation.
Without this huge team, and the hundreds of hours of voluntary work they do each week, our services would be greatly diminished.
Our volunteers from the local community of Calderdale love the opportunity to meet and work with our centre members who are from all over the world. We build bridges and form genuine connections and friendships between people from diverse backgrounds. In the face of so much bad news from around the world, it is really rewarding to do something tangible that helps someone else have a better day.
Many of our volunteers come from our community of centre members. People seeking asylum are barred from working yet have so many skills and talents they would love to be able to share. Providing opportunities for volunteering gives people dignity, builds self-confidence and a sense of belonging and offers work experience which in future can hopefully be used to help people enter the jobs market. Volunteers with lived experience of the asylum process are able to empathise with others facing the same challenges and help us to ensure that our services are genuinely responsive to the needs of the people we support.
We have a truly incredible team and we appreciate everything our volunteers do – thank you, thank you, thank you!