Marsh Refugee Volunteer Award

This Award is run in partnership with the Refugee Council and recognises volunteer-led projects which provide services to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The Award scheme originally rewarded four regional projects. However it has been restructured to recognise programmes in the areas of four core services the Refugee Council runs. These are:

•Resettlement Services - (Gateway Protection Programme)
•Destitution or Therapeutic Casework Services
•Children’s Section
•Integration Services

An Additional Refugee or Asylum Seeker Achievement Award has been added to the scheme, to recognise an outstanding individual linked to the Refugee Council for making a contribution to their community.

The 2016 winners are Arnold Christo-Leigh, New Beginnings, ESOL Teaching and Learning, Let's Eat! and Personal and Professional Development Workshops

Marsh Refugee Achievement Award: Arnold Christo-Leigh

Arnold has dedicated his life to helping refugees and asylum seekers. As well as the Refugee Council, he also volunteers for the British Red Cross, Hackney Migrant Centre and London Catholic Workers. Arnold has been a volunteer with Refugee Council’s destitution services for approximately 2 years, following assistance from the same department to obtain his immigration status after 25 years without it. Arnold knows from experience what clients need so is able to relate to them on a level that others cannot, often going above and beyond in his role to do so. Arnold recently visited a homeless client in hospital, making several trips to check on them since they have no friends or family and ensure their belongings were safe at the centre. He also collects and delivers a weekly food parcel to a client who is blind – travelling from Lewisham to Tottenham to ensure this client is supported.

This Award also recognises 4 Volunteer Projects:

Therapeutic Services: New Beginnings, Mother and Toddler Group

This project will enhance the existing Mother and Toddler Group by incorporating music as a healing and therapeutic element, complementing the already stimulating and supportive environment that it offers. The Award will go towards the purchase of a music player and CD’s and may also be put towards the purchase of some small musical instruments for the toddlers to interact with in conjunction to listening to the music. Music and song will provide another way in which mothers and children can interact and it will greatly facilitate the language development of the children and, according to research, create a lasting positive impact on them for life.

Resettlement (Gateway Protection Programme): ESOL Teaching and Learning

This project will aim to develop the quality of teaching already provided at the ESOL teaching sessions on a weekly basis and enhance learner outcomes. The Award will go towards providing the volunteer teachers with specific ESOL resources that are relevant and appropriate to each individual learner’s requirements such as teaching resources, visual aids and stationery for the students. It will also give students the opportunity to develop their English outside of the classroom while also learning more about the local culture and history in the area. The project will develop the clients’ use and understanding of English, increasing their job opportunities and ability to engage with others in the community whilst also improving their confidence and encouraging them to be independent.

Children’s Section: Let’s Eat!

This project will teach young people how to make simple meals, about food hygiene and health and safety, about nutrition and healthy eating and budgeting for food shopping over a six week course. It will be aimed towards unaccompanied minors, especially those living in semi-independent accommodation who have to shop and cook for themselves. Volunteers will run the sessions, imparting their knowledge and accompanying the young people on their shopping trips. The Award will go towards buying cooking utensils, buying ingredients for meals and hiring kitchens to use for the sessions.

Integration Services: Personal and Professional Development Workshops

This project works to increase the employability of clients by providing them with the opportunity to develop their skills through a series of structured workshops. The workshop, ‘Managing the Recruitment Process’ helps clients to understand the recruitment process from the eyes of the recruiter, through activities such as designing job descriptions and conducting interviews. The participants will already be registered with Refugees into Jobs and wanting to gain advanced, practical experience to increase their employability. The Award will cover the travel expenses of the participants to each of the workshops, so no clients would be excluded from attending the sessions on this basis.

Pictured: Representatives from the Let's Eat! project and the New Beginnings project accepting their Awards from Millie Kenyon (MCT Trustee) and Arnold Christo-Leigh, the individual Award winner


The Refugee Council
250 Ferndale Road
Greater London