Nigel And Reda2 (002)

Nigel and Reda: How one volunteer helped a client make his dreams a reality

Nigel found himself with some spare time on his hands since retiring, so when his daughter, a social worker, suggested he get in touch with Connection Support, he thought he’d give it a go. In the Spring of 2022, Nigel came onboard as a volunteer with Connection Support, helping specifically on the Refugee Resettlement Team.

Nigel was introduced to Reda, who, seeking refuge from Syria, had arrived in England with his wife and three-year-old daughter. Reda was looking for help that could support his adjustment to living in the UK, and wanted to find ways to learn English. After Reda enrolled on a course at a local college to learn the language, he spoke with his Support Worker, Isabelle, about becoming a barber. Isabelle introduced Reda to Nigel, and together, they discussed what could be done to help Reda on his chosen career path.

When the two men met, they spoke about Reda’s long-term goals and Nigel supported Reda in approaching barbers across Oxford in a bid to find work experience. Together, they visited barbers across the area, encouraging Reda to develop his language skills, but also his interpersonal skills, to find somewhere that would be the perfect fit. The two men worked together to upskill Reda and develop his confidence, and he went on to complete 6 months work experience at a local barbers. Here, he was able to develop his English by speaking to customers, as well as observe and learn the trade.

This was just the start for Reda: he went on to secure a trainee role in an Oxford based barbers shop. Working 4 days a week and doing 2-3 haircuts a day, it’s a very busy time for him, but he’s enjoying every day. Looking ahead, Reda wants to continue learning English and further develop his barbering skills so that he can become a professional barber. His long-term ambition is to own a successful barber shop, ideally within the next four to five years.

Reda thanks Nigel for all his support, saying:

“Nigel is the best volunteer ever! He has been so positive and kind to me and provided support. I am so grateful to him for helping me. My wife and I have just welcomed a baby son, and I’m now excited for my family’s prospects here in the UK.”

After working with Reda, Nigel said:

“It’s very rewarding to me to see how far Reda has come, and it has been a pleasure working with him. He is intelligent, hardworking and has all the qualities he needs to succeed.”

When asked what advice he would give to someone considering volunteering with Connection Support, Nigel said:

I would say give it time, be patient and you will see results. My connection with Reda was easy and straight forward and we have a very good relationship, but with other volunteering experiences I have found the relationship can take time to become established in the beginning. Be committed, and don’t be disheartened, hang in there and you will see the impact of your efforts.”

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We’re always on the look out for more people like Nigel; people who have some spare time and want to help others. You can find more information about our volunteering opportunities here.

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