Integrate Coventry

Integrate Coventry

VAC's Integrate Coventry project is supporting refugees to grow skills and confidence through volunteering 

Integrate Coventry aims to help to integrate refugees and other third country nationals to rebuild their lives in safety, becoming fully self-sufficient and establish themselves within the wider community of Coventry.

This will be achieved by providing them with English Language education, information advice and guidance; individualised, one to one help to remove barriers to progression e.g. housing and benefits advice; self-development interventions; fun activities which help clients to make new friends with people outside of their communities; therapy; opportunities to visit new places and find out more about their new home; access to employment and volunteering; cultural projects/activities and arts and cultural engagement opportunities which have the potential to deepen their relationship and understanding of their City.

The project has two pathways for clients. Clients may change pathways if their support needs change:
Pathway 1 will see the client allocated a caseworker who will support the client over a period of time addressing issues and concerns they experience, educating along the way to ensure they are able to deal with these issues themselves going forward. We will cover all areas of concern, which can vary from benefit maximisation, employment, counselling, and social inclusion. We will work with other agencies where needed to get the best outcomes for our clients. Specialist provision s are provided for women and unaccompanied minors. Clients will also be guided through the enrichment activities on offer by their caseworker.
Pathway 2 of the Project is for clients who do not require one to one support and they will be able to sign up to the different activities that we have on offer in our enrichment programme. This includes ESOL classes, friendship and hobby groups, volunteering placements and an arts and culture programme.
Integrate Coventry is a partnership led by Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre  with Foleshill Women's Training , VAC, Coventry City of Culture and the Belgrade Theatre
Hot off the press, the second Integrate Coventry Newsletter, more news from CRMC and partners, ready for “Refugee Week".
Please check out Integrate Coventry's quarterly Newsletter

Young people (UASC) learn about volunteering

Ruth Burdett

A group of 22  unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) around 17 years old, from the Integrate Coventry Project  participated in a session to help them with  their future plans, and goal setting where they learnt how volunteering can help them gain experience and skills to add to their college studies and longer term goals.

The Session was a partnership between Karima, the UASC Officer at CRMC, Angela, one of the English as a Second Language tutors and Ruth from VAC who used some of the Skills for Volunteering course to create an interactive and vibrant event for the young people. We pooled our different skills and knowledge to great effect.

Karima commented: -

“it was an enjoyable experience for all of us and – I must say – a great collaboration and team effort”

The group had mixed levels of English, but we wanted them to experience a bit of what it would be like during their  next transition from school to college students. We felt that the idea of volunteering as a next step for these young people along with their studies was a perfect way to generate confidence, new networks of friendship and support, new skills and experience, and to find employment in the future.

Despite some of their difficulties understanding the English, they all still  enjoyed the type of learning experience - being in the Belgrade’s Screen Room, which was a lovely space to work in. The students were also able to make friends with people from different lesson groups. The session helped the young people to consider their priorities, including improving their English Language skills.  As well as recognise the potential difficulties they might experience at college where they were also to think of their next steps.

All three members of staff involved were surprised about the numbers who attended and at their willingness to participate to the best of their ability, but worked together seamlessly to make sure their support needs were met, for explanations and questions.

Plans are being made to run more sessions in the autumn term with the young people, although with fewer numbers and trialling different learning techniques –such as creating an imaginary character who goes through the transition from ESOL and school to college. We are looking forward to these exciting opportunities.

Our new team learnt many things from the experience, which will benefit the Integrate Coventry Programme as a whole, while supporting and raising the aspirations of young people to make the most of their new life in Coventry and the UK.

VAC’s Volunteering programme

We are passionate about volunteering and our part of the programme, is to support refugees and others with leave to remain to take part in volunteering. This helps with gaining confidence and skills alongside developing their awareness of UK values and practices in a way that is supportive, as well as recognising their agency and the positive differences they can make to the community of Coventry.

We run two sets of training, one for people with leave to remain, and the other to support and enable voluntary organisations to understand the needs of refugees as volunteers.

See Upcoming Events and Training Dates


Celebrating volunteering!

A heart-warming, uplifting film from Jay Langdell.

Interested in strengthening individual aspirations and the wider community of Coventry, through the third sector? Finding out how you can support people to participate in community life? ... Then this film is for you!
The film highlights the work of Your Future Your Integration and its successor project Integrate Coventry which is starting now

  WATCH   Journey Through Volunteering


For more information please contact us:

Ruth Burdett

Cagatay Isilak