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Partners coming together to give back to our Welcome Mentor Volunteers

Our Welcome Mentor Volunteers have spent another year improving the quality of the lives of Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants living in Kirklees in 2021.  Supporting with integration, companionship, translation support, signposting and anything else needed to help these people settle and feel a part of our community,  this was recognised by the Kirklees Community Awards panel who selected the Welcome Mentors project as the winner of the Significant Contribution to the Community award. Whilst we spend our time throughout the year working with them all, to support the Welcome Mentors in their own progression including helping them access learning  and work opportunities and supporting them with anything else they need, we wanted to do something extra special for them at Xmas time to thank them for their amazing work.​

After a few discussions with other partners and local business we decided that with some planning and joined up working we could throw them a Xmas party complete with entertainment, food and gifts for each volunteer and their families. ​

We started in September by putting out a call for gift donations and the response was overwhelming! We had donations from Morrisons, Foxs Biscuits, Cummins Turbo Technologies, Lubrizol, Santa’s Seniors YCC, as well as donations from members of the public, people who work and volunteer within other organisations in Kirklees and of course, our wonderful team at TSL.​

Once we had collected all of the donations, we then called upon our partners to come along to some volunteer wrapping days in December – this gave several partners the opportunity to get together, wrap some gifts and reflect on the achievements of the year – at our wrapping days we were supported by workers and volunteers from The Mission, The Libraries , CLEAR, Northorpe Hall, YCC and Lubrizol – Becky and Abdul from TSL Volunteering played a massive part in supporting with the coordination for the mammoth task of wrapping over 300 gifts! ​

We were also very lucky to work with the Yorkshire Children’s Centre who very kindly donated a huge number of extra gifts for the Volunteers children, initially the hope was to get enough gifts for the adult volunteers but because of people’s generosity we were able to gift to their partners and their children which was amazing and beyond what we could have dreamed of!​

Next came the day to give out the presents, with help again from Elves from various organisations, we decorated a room to full Grotto standard and awaited the volunteers’ arrivals, it was an amazing turn out and seeing such happy faces made everything worthwhile.  ​

You cannot put a price on these very special volunteers, they themselves have suffered trauma, loss , hardship, yet they always make time to help others and can never do enough for us – we couldn’t manage without them, and we hope that every single one of them had an extra special Xmas because the deserve it! ​

What the volunteers said:​

“This is my first-time receiving Xmas presents, I am so excited for Xmas day”​

“This Xmas was amazing for us and the children thanks to your gifts , we were all so happy” ​

“I feel like I didn’t thank you enough  for the presents, my daughter loved her dolly and pram , thank you for making our holiday wonderful”​

“Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, god bless you and the team for everything that you have done for me and my boys, I can’t wait to wrap their gifts up and to open mine too!”​

“What a fantastic effort you made on Friday, Steffi. Thanks for making your volunteers feel special. Have a great Christmas.  PS. I hope Santa is as good to you as you have been to all of us.”​

By Agency For Good

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