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Durham City of Sanctuary offers practical and emotional support to asylum seekers and refugees living in County Durham through our Befriending Scheme.

Volunteers attend training workshops and are paired up with individual asylum seekers and refugees or family groups. Volunteers then undertake to take part in a variety of activities, including visiting refugees and asylum seekers within their homes and inviting them to take part in community activities. The aim is to offer friendship and support, help them access local services and to familiarise them with their local community.

Befriending Workshop - May 2016

Befriending Workshop – May 2016

What qualities do volunteers need?

  • Volunteers must be aged over 18
  • You should have an interest in asylum issues and human rights
  • Have good interpersonal skills
  • Be able to listen and understand difficulties
  • Have a non-judgmental approach

If you are interested in joining Durham City of Sanctuary email us at [email protected] and we will send you one of our membership / volunteer forms.

N.B. Volunteers who wish to become part of our befriending scheme will have to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) form, which has an administration cost of £15.


Befriending Scheme Coordinators x2

Durham City of Sanctuary are seeking to appoint two Area Coordinators to help with the running of our Refugee Befriending Scheme. Successful candidates would have the following responsibilities:

  • Be the main point of contact for requests for help and assistance from refugees in their designated area
  • Allocating tasks (as outlined in the Befriending Scheme Plan) to appropriate volunteers who have enrolled on the Befriending Scheme
  • Keeping brief records of activities carried out
  • Encourage increasing independence for the refugees as they become more settled
  • Reporting to and being supported by the DCoS Trustees

Successful candidates should have the following qualities:

  • Be sensitive to the specific needs of newly arrived refugees
  • Be efficient and organised
  • Be able to respond flexibly to the changing demands of the role as the organisation evolves and to the changing circumstances of the refugees
  • Have good listening skills
  • Have a genuine desire to encourage a culture of welcome in the local area and work actively towards it

The coordinator with responsibility for the second group of families would also be encouraged to regularly attend the weekly Conversation Group.

Interested candidates should write a brief letter of application, outlining their background, experience, why they would be suitable for the role and how many hours a week they would be available. Please email to [email protected] by Wednesday 22nd February.