Family Support Team

USEFUL RESOURCES

Exercise: Discussing Our Values and Approach

Example Timeline for first two weeks

Good Practice When Working with Interpreters (Source: Reset)

Guidelines for Volunteers

Good Practice Guide for Befrienders

Goal Setting (Source: Reset)

What Can We Talk About (Source: ABIDE)

This page is for volunteers who will be working directly with the family.

Below are some key responsibilities and challenges that you will need to prepare for as a group.

How Will You Approach Resettlement?

A:

This exercise is a useful starting point to discussing your approach, values and priorities as a Family Support Team.  

Download Values Exercise

Managing Boundaries

A:

Maintaining boundaries is important for the wellbeing of both you and the family. You will be in a position of power – you will regularly enter their private home, support them with very personal tasks and are a gateway to many services. They may also feel very grateful to you for helping them to resettle. Setting clear boundaries can help to address this power dynamic – boundaries help the family to maintain their privacy and autonomy, and by discouraging dependency.

Meanwhile, it’s important that as volunteers, you ensure that enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to overstretch yourselves in terms of time, energy or a sense of responsibility for the family you are supporting. This could be harmful to your own well-being and, also unhelpful for the family.

Signs of overworking as a befriender are:

  • your private / family life being affected
  • new, higher levels of physical or mental strain

Ways of avoiding being overworked include:

  • Having set visiting times. Set a weekly visiting time and duration each week and trying to stick with that schedule. Flexibility will be required sometimes, but diverting from the set schedule should be kept to a minimum.
  • Not being ‘on call’. You may decide that volunteers should not give out their own home phone number.
  • Using your group support network – perhaps set up regular peer-to-peer support sessions, where you check in as a group.
  • Remember that your ability to support is limited. You are not expected to “solve” all their problems. You can only provide key information, support them to access appropriate services, and to show warmth and kindness as they navigate their new life.

We recommend that you read these example guidelines, and then decide your own approach as a group.

Guidelines for Volunteers

Good Practice Guide for Befrienders

 

Working With Interpreters

A:

Refugee Action and Reset have produced some excellent guidelines for working with interpreters, here

Supporting The Family to Achieve Their Goals

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Reset have produced guidance and practical tools to help structure your work towards integration. It helps family members to consider their short and long-term goals, and to plan how you will work together to achieve these goals.

The Practicalities

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Within the first six weeks, you will need to support the family with the following tasks (this is in no particular order):

  • Sign a tenancy agreement
  • Receive Biometric Residence Permits
  • Register for benefits
  • Register for GP, and attend appointment
  • Register for dentist, and attend appointment
  • Attend appointment at opticians
  • Register children in school
  • Register and attend 8 hours of ESOL per week
  • Navigate public transport system
  • Navigate local area – e.g. shops, supermarket, pharmacy, parks, etc

Download an example Timeline here

 

You should also set time to have the following conversations with the family:

  • Complaints and Safeguarding Policies and Procedures
  • Your code of conduct
  • Important points of UK Law and Customs, that may be different to home country (e.g. use of seatbelts, leaving children at home alone, physical punishment, bribing, etc.)
  • How to contact emergency services
  • How to use household appliances and security (e.g. use of white goods, how to lock doors, etc.)
  • Understanding and managing finances (we recommend, with the family’s permission, that you provide fortnightly budgeting sessions)
  • Agree together how and when you will communicate with and visit the family

See Reset's Guide to Managing Expectations  and Handling Difficult Conversations

 

Over the following year, you will be expected to offer the following support:

  • Help the family feel welcome and supported, and to flourish in their new community
  • Access 8-hours of English Language lessons per week
  • Receive appropriate benefits payments
  • Define and follow a Personal Integration Plan
  • Help with finding employment
  • Safeguarding
  • Provide interpretation for key appointments
  • Signpost useful services and organisations as necessary (e.g. social groups, support networks, mental health services, conversation clubs, etc)
  • If their house is only available for two years, to discuss options and support their smooth transition

What Can We Talk About?

A:

What Can We Talk About

ABIDE Community Sponsorship Group in Devon have produced some ideas to get conversation going or open up new topics of conversation.

Download Here.

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