befrienders Essex integration


Essex Integration has a group of caring individuals who offer their help and support for free to refugee families in Essex. They are called 'Befrienders'.

Befrienders provide a very important role at Essex Integration.  They give a bit of extra support to the refugees’ families to add to and complement the vital support provided by keyworkers. Learning English is an essential part of integrating into the community. So every friendly conversation or sharing tea together, helps refugee families to become more confident in the use of the English language.

Befriending services have been developed to provide refugees with opportunities for social interaction and a valuable sense of being part of a community.

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Who are the Befrienders with Essex Integration?

Befrienders range from retired people to university students with a wide variety of ages in between! Essex Integration have Befrienders aged from 18 to 80+ years old and there are lots of different skills and a variety of languages that are spoken. Befrienders are from churches, mosques, community groups and next-door neighbours – all people who want to ‘lend a helping hand’.

Befrienders’ activities

Befrienders get involved in lots of different activities.     Some teach informal English to families and small groups, supporting the official college teaching.                       Others provide lifts to the hospital or medical appointments.

Befrienders often enjoy going out and about with families, on trips to the park, shops, library etc. A Befrienders’ local knowledge is extremely helpful in helping families to get to know the local area.

Visiting and sharing coffee together, having conversations, being a friendly face as well as providing a chance to talk in English; this is what being a Befriender is all about.

What do you need to be a Befriender?

Befrienders, as the name suggests, need to be friendly and ready to be a friend.

We need people who are ready to communicate using sign and imagination if they don’t understand the language, to try out new ideas (and maybe new foods) who are open to relating to people of different cultures, respecting cultural differences. Empathy, friendliness, respect for others, being ready to talk and to listen, ready to have fun and to share time together, all these things are part of being a Befriender.

How can I become a Befriender?

We at Essex Integration welcome everyone who is interested in supporting and being a friend to our refugee families.

Essex Integration ask that 'New' Befrienders fill in an application form and confidential declaration and provide character references. Click on the link This is to help keep everyone stay safe.

If you are interested in being a Befriender or would like to find out more about Befriending, click on the link and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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