Volunteering with the Rural Refugee Network

Partner: Rural Refugee Network
Partner type: Community Group
Project category: Volunteering

Volunteering opportunities for pupils at Bedales and Bedales Prep, Dunhurst to support the work of the Rural Refugee Network. 

Aims of the project

Partnership aims to support the aims of the Rural Refugee Network which was established in 2015 to help bring refugees to safety in the UK and to resettle into their new communities, offering grants for education, training and employment to families and young people placed across Hampshire. The RRN also campaigns on behalf of Syrian refugees and unaccompanied minors with the aim of debunking myths, building bridges and ultimately saving lives.

Through cementing the relationship between the school and the RRN charity, it is also hoped that more bursary opportunities will be funded and made available to families introduced to the school through the RRN.

Background and goals

Bedales was initially introduced to the Rural Refugee Network when the charity approached the school seeking bursary support for a young person whose family the charity was helping to resettle in the UK. This was arranged through Bedales' full bursary initiative, the John Badley Foundation.

The relationship between the charity and Bedales then developed into student volunteering opportunities.

Pupils from Bedales and Bedales Prep, Dunhurst have supported the RRN's fundraising efforts by creating artwork for a major Art sale, and also helping prepare for the annual exhibition held at Bordean House, near Petersfield on 13 June.

Head of Bedales, Magnus Bashaarat, commented: “We are keen for our students to get involved in helping others in this way. I am delighted we could provide both creative input and a very willing workforce to help make the Art Sale fundraiser such a success. Congratulations to all involved.”

Resources

Range of teaching and support staff have been involved, together with pupils in 11-18 age range.

Impact

The charity’s founder and Co-chair of the Board of Trustees, Julia Thistleton-Smith commented on Bedales’ contribution: “This year’s event was our most successful yet. Thank you all for your wonderful support. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate what I can only describe as an outpouring of support from Bedales. It makes such a difference to our own motivation to get a boost like this."

Pupil involvement

62 pupils from Block 1 (year 7) at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst and Bedales Sixth Form contributed artwork together with Dunhurst’s Head of Art & Design, Susan McFarlane.

Frequency and duration

Having been focussed around an event in June 2019, the plan is to create more volunteering opportunities in the next school year.

There is more information on the RRN on their website. The charity would be particularly interested to hear from people who can help with refugee housing in Hampshire.