What are you doing in your European Voluntary Service (EVS) project?
I am providing social support to asylum seekers facing destitution (homeless and without financial resources). That is to say :
- providing them with emotional support, and emergency provisions, as food, and hygiene packs,
- guiding them in their legal applications (asylum seekers aim to get the refugee status in UK, giving them the same rights as any other British citizen, for example the right to work and to have an accommodation), through assisting them in their relationship with amongst others, the Home office and their solicitor.
- helping them to familiarize themselves with their new environment, to find an emergency accommodation if necessary, but also food places, friendships, education, leisure, volunteering opportunities, etc.
I am meeting the asylum seekers twice a week in two centres, into which they come to receive the British Red Cross’ support. The rest of the time, I am doing follow up work in the office.
What have you done in your free time?…
During my free time, I have amongst other things visited the surroundings of Bradford and made the most of the nightlife of both Bradford and Leeds.
What have you learn yet personally and professionally through your European Voluntary Service (EVS) project?
I have learnt :
- the basis of social work,
- to provide emotional support to people in need, and to deal with difficult situations (some asylum seekers have lost their families, are likely to be killed if the UK government removes them to their country, or have no place to sleep in…)
- to do practical work to organize social work sessions (appointments with asylum seekers),
- to live and work in an intercultural environment, to express myself in English,
- to share a flat with two girls, and forget my single’s habits…!
Pierre Beretti, EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteers at the Red Cross in the UK.
Project supported by the British Council
and the Youth In Action programme
of the European Commission.