Role: Adult casework volunteer
Supervised by: Adult caseworker
Location: Tooting office on a Thursday afternoon (2-5.30pm)
Time commitment: 3.5 hours a week, we ask that volunteers commit for a minimum of 6 months
About CARAS :
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS) is a registered charity that has been supporting refugees and asylum-seekers since 2002 empowering them to integrate and engage in the local community.
Arriving as an asylum seeker/refugee can be a disempowering experience. Difficulties with language, accessing services and overcoming prejudice are ever-present. As an organisation we are committed to work alongside refugees to overcome those challenges, and to help them build their lives.
We offer group support and targeted support work. We offer a range of activities including: ESOL classes; social and recreational activities such as youth club, drama, trips and family activities; educational support for young people; and casework and advocacy support.
Our values are at the centre of all our work:
• Kindness: CARAS will nurture all who are part of our community, helping everyone to develop their skills, talents, and interests.
• Justice: CARAS will strive for social justice following a rights-based approach in all our work and challenging instances when rights are not upheld in wider society.
• Empowerment: CARAS works alongside people, recognising and respecting their skills and strengths and striving together for better outcomes.
• ‘With’ not ‘for’: CARAS will put the voices, opinions, experiences and needs of its beneficiaries at the heart of all that we do.
About CARAS Casework:
CARAS works with adults and young people of a refugee and asylum seeker background to find solutions to their problems. There are two separate sub-teams within the Casework team; young people and adults. We support adults to navigate the asylum system, understand their options, access benefits, connect with services and realise their goals. We are a non-specialist casework and advocacy service, so we work in close partnership with other local organisations to whom we refer people with more complex issues.
Using the empowerment model, our casework service embodies CARAS’ values of ‘with not for’, always striving to ensure people are armed with the information and resources they need to make decisions and take action for themselves.
About the Role:
We are currently recruiting for 2 volunteers to join our Adult Casework team.
The purpose of the Adult Casework volunteer role is to support adults with a refugee or asylum seeking background to understand their rights, access information and services, and ultimately, take control of their own lives. You will work with individuals to address problems they may face relating to, among other issues, asylum support, accessing healthcare and education, access to legal advice and finding activities and opportunities.
You will start from an understanding that individuals are always best placed to solve their own problems, and often need nothing more than to talk out a problem and find the solution themselves. When helpful, you will provide information to clarify and support to take action.
The Adult Casework team hold a support session at our office in Tooting on Thursday afternoons from 2-5.30pm. Volunteer caseworkers have 1:1 appointments, either in person or by phone, with CARAS members. These can be related to a range of topics. Currently our biggest areas of work are around housing for people seeking asylum, access to college, nursery/school places for children, referrals to mental health providers, searches and signposting to activities, finding solicitors and supporting people to apply for bus passes and ID cards. Volunteers also support with administrative tasks such as updating our databases, collating resources and creating information guides.
Adult Casework Volunteer Tasks and Responsibilities:
Working in an empowering way with individuals and promoting their independence through goal-setting.
Supporting people to develop their knowledge of rights and entitlements.
Assisting with filling out forms.
Signposting and referring onto other services and organisations.
Gathering information from experts and disseminating information to people in an accessible manner.
Engaging in collaborative internet and phone research on services, organisations and grants.
Flagging safeguarding concerns and other issues where further support is required.
Keeping accurate case-notes.
Supporting to maintain our signposting database.
Researching and collating resources.
Working collaboratively as a team and assisting to shape the Adult Casework project.
Adhering to CARAS Confidentiality policy, Health & Safety policy, Equal Opportunities policy and all other policies as relevant.
Experience of doing 1:1 advice work/casework
Excellent communication skills, especially with people with varying levels of English.
Confidence in using IT (Microsoft office, outlook, zoom, Google search, online forms)
To be non-judgemental and able to engage with people from diverse backgrounds;
A commitment to confidentiality and data protection
Thorough with good attention to detail
A high level of spoken and written English
Ability to gather information from people in a sensitive way
A calm, friendly, kind and patient approach
Enjoyment in speaking to new people
A commitment to working in an empowering way
Able to maintain boundaries
Able to work autonomously
Currently resident in the UK
Working knowledge or experience of relevant law and policy around asylum support, the asylum process, rights and entitlements for people seeking asylum.
Experience of working with interpreters.
Direct experience of the UK immigration system.
Past experience of working with people seeking asylum.
Proficiency in one or more of the following languages: Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish, Oromo, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, Somali, Tigrinya, Urdu or Vietnamese.
We will prioritise applicants with lived experience of the asylum process.
Benefits to Volunteering:
· Learn about issues relating to refugees and people seeking asylum.
· Work as part of a friendly, welcoming team.
· Develop your skills and competencies.
· Be able to access relevant training, including safeguarding training.
Obtain a reference from us relating to your volunteering.
All volunteers must complete a basic DBS check for volunteers working with adults and attend training with us before starting. You will also receive training and support relevant to your specific role.
To apply for this opportunity, download and complete the CARAS volunteer application form, using this volunteer role description to inform your answers. Email your completed form to Mirza at firstname.lastname@example.org with the email subject header, “Adult casework volunteer”.
Applicants will have an informal meeting with the Adult caseworker, and one with community members, to assess compatibility to the role. These meetings will be on a rolling basis so apply ASAP.
Successful applicants will undergo training and induction with our team.
To apply for this job email your details to email@example.com.