Refugees and Asylum Seekers Volunteering in the UK
A Part of Society: Refugees and Asylum Seekers Volunteering in the UK
Ruth Wilson and Hannah Lewis
London: Tandem, 2006 (www.tandem-uk.com)
One area in which volunteering is important is in helping people who are new, or relatively new, to a country settle and integrate. This is the focus of A Part of Society. The report rightly starts from a position that, although (in the UK at least) we know a great deal about volunteering in general – about motivations, the benefits of volunteering, and about the barriers people face in participating – for specific groups we sometimes know a lot less.
Wilson and Lewis’ report is timely, as the issue of immigration and how new settlers contribute to, and assimilate into, a host society is a hot topic across Europe. Further, the report notes that while many refugees and asylum seekers volunteer, most will do so in their own community or as part of a refugee organisation – far fewer go on to volunteer in other non-refugee organisations. The research was based on case study visits and interviews with volunteers themselves.