It's been a busy training season for Bridges for Communities this autumn! As well as our regular training for new volunteers with b.friend, we've been able to run a couple of 'Welcome to the UK' courses for refugees who have recently been resettled in Bristol through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, and have delivered cultural awareness sessions for Community Sponsorship groups (local people and organisations who are stepping up and taking responsibility for the resettlement of a refugee family in their local area). These Community Sponsorship groups have been in Westbury-on-Trym (Bristol), Braunton (Devon) and Lewisham (London). We've also delivered similiar sessions for North Somerset Council as they prepare local volunteers to work with resettled families too.
We are delighted to be able to support these groups in this way, as equipping people to be more effective in cross-cultural relationships is one of our goals at Bridges. We are also always encouraged and inspired by people that we meet at the training sessions - people who give their time, energy and expertise in order to help welcome others and to make a difference in the communities where they live.
We thought we would share a little bit of the feedback we've had from some of these training programmes:
"The Cultural training was so valuable. Many of our group have never been to an Arabic country, or have had any contact with Arabs. The training has helped us to not only understand what culture they are coming from, but also understand our own cultural norms too. When our family arrive, the training we received will help our group to make our family feel welcome and at home. We hope that this may help them to integrate quicker and not feel so overwhelmed or confused when they first arrive." Miriam Latimer, Braunton Refugee Suppport Group
"We invited Bridges for Communities to London to train our existing volunteer group and prepare for the future. I am incredibly glad that we did - the expertise, practical advice and support we got at the session was absolutely invaluable. Dan worked with the group to draw out valuable feedback, give advice and help us create a vision for the future. He ran the session in a calm and professional way, created space for everyone to work together and gave examples of the work Bridges do to bring ideas to life. Everyone was so enthusiastic and motivated after the training that several new initiatives have already been created." Karen Salem, Lewisham Refugee Welcome Team
"Thank you very much for the training you delivered last Tuesday - it was well delivered, at a steady pace and you made it extremely interesting. One of the volunteers stated that it was the best training that they have received in a long time for any subject." Paul Jones, North Somerset Council