Volunteering with MEP

The Migrant English Project is profoundly grateful to all those people who apply to volunteer. It is heartening to know that so many people care. Our need for new volunteers varies over time so that if you apply on some occasions you may hear back from us very quickly and at other times it may take a while longer. Unfortunately it is very difficult to predict in a constantly changing situation. So please bear with us and know that what ever the lead times of our responding to your application, we deeply appreciate your readiness to help.

What might be expected of volunteers?

The Migrant English Project (MEP) helps people whose first language is not English. These individuals are migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The project helps them to gain English language skills. It is also a safe and friendly meeting place for people who might feel isolated in Brighton and Hove because they don’t speak English or know people in the local community.

Providing support, encouragement, a friendly listening ear and inspiring self-esteem and confidence is just as important as teaching English and often the two go hand in hand. Please be aware that some of the students may be particularly vulnerable due to their personal past circumstances and experiences, and that sensitivity to this is paramount.

Information for volunteers – this document explains what we ask of volunteers and what we can offer them. Please read it before deciding if you would like to apply.

What we are looking for

  • People who are warm, friendly, honest and reliable – these are the most important qualities
  • People who are flexible and willing to help with whatever needs doing
  • A commitment to stay with us for at least a year
  • People who can come to MEP in Brighton every Monday (when MEP runs)
  • Teaching and different language skills are useful, but not essential
  • We often urgently need people with other skills such as cooking, gardening, sewing and IT expertise

What you can do at MEP

  • Teach English to people at all levels, including complete beginners
  • Welcome people as they arrive
  • Make tea, coffee and lunch – and wash up!
  • Help to open and/or close MEP on Mondays
  • Teach people how to use computers
  • Teach people how to use sewing machines and follow a dress pattern
  • Join a rota to help cook the lunchtime meal
  • Supporting parents who are responsible for safeguarding their children during ESOL sessions.
  • Join the gardening group to take people to visit allotments and gardens
  • Help people fill in official forms and applications
  • Update the website
  • Help with fundraising and funding applications
  • Organise outings
  • Carrying out assessments of new students to allocate them to a teacher
  • Translate and interpret if you have language skills
  • Photocopying and organising teaching materials
  • General coordination and administration of the Project.

There are always jobs to do! Please ask!

The timetable

MEP is open every Monday (bank holidays subject to availability of volunteers):

  • Setting up 10.00 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.
  • Lessons from 11.00am to 12.30pm and from 1.15 to 3pm. (Refreshments available).
  • Lunch break 1.00 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. (a free vegan lunch is provided)
  • Conversation and informal lessons (including the sewing group) from 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.

All volunteers need to fill in our online application form and provide two references.

Other ways to support MEP

You can also help by giving money to help us operate. We rely on financial contributions to pay for rent, lunch, tea and coffee and travel costs. If you would like to donate please see our Localgiving page. We rely on external funding to keep going, so donations, especially regular ones, are really important to us and very much appreciated by everyone at MEP

The Useful organisations page of our website lists some of the other organisations you might wish to contact if you want to get involved in helping refugees and migrants.

We’re a very small outfit run entirely by volunteers so please forgive us if we don’t get back to you immediately.