Ruth's volunteering story

04 June 2018

Ruth volunteers on our Syrian refugee resettlement programme teaching English to the refugees through an English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course when they arrive in Gloucestershire.

Here is Ruth’s story:

''I retired from teaching two years ago but wasn’t ready to stop so looked at ways to use my skills through volunteering.

About 18 months ago a friend of mine told me about the Syrian refugee resettlement programme. They mentioned that they were looking for some support to teach English to families.

It was a project that interested me. I had experience of living in countries where my native language wasn’t spoken and understanding the challenges this presents. You can feel lonely and isolated from the community when you’re unable to communicate. I wanted to get involved so I could help break down this barrier and help them integrate in their new community.

I’ve been teaching two families who have arrived in the UK with no spoken or written English skills. I teach the parents in their homes whilst the children learn at school. The skills they’re learning opens doors for them. It helps them with everyday tasks such as filling in forms. Everyday things we take for granted but help them settle into their new lives.

Working on the Syrian resettlement project alongside Amanda and the team is amazing. The work they do to support and encourage the families is fantastic and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Volunteering is rewarding. Even when I worked full time I found opportunities to volunteer and give back. You get to meet and learn from so many different people. Volunteering is never a one-way process – you get back so much more than you give!''