Hello, my name is Dave. I am a retired local businessman. I’ve volunteered with Upbeat for around four years. As a volunteer I have helped deliver awareness sessions, carried out Welcome Box visits to new arrivals, helped with English through the Bible, been on many trips, attended community meals and befriended many refugees.
I really enjoy befriending refugees. On one occasion I picked up a young couple who had just arrived. They were totally soaked, and the young lady’s shoes were falling apart. My sister’s husband turned up with a huge bag of my sister’s clothes including coats, shoes and dresses. I was surprised because they had never done this before. All of the clothes were as new and some still had labels attached. To my surprise, my sister was an identical size to the young lady (even the shoes fit). What a miracle!
This kind of stuff happens again and again. And it makes me very happy. Now when I go to the bank even some of the cashiers know that I am a volunteer so bring in clothes for me to take to Upbeat!
Delivering Welcome Boxes is a great experience. Just today, we took a box to a new family who have been in Derby for two weeks. We were able to help them with forms to register with the GP. They also had a problem with the lights so we were able to quickly replace the bulbs throughout the house. Being familiar with the area, we were able to advise them about local services, including the library and local shops.
Recently, Upbeat held a barbecue for around eighty people. I was able to go along and meet with people from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea to mention just a few. I find the people really interesting and love getting to know new people. They are always very happy to make a friend and grateful for any help.
One of my favourite activities is on Wednesday when we do English through the Bible. We study a small portion of scripture and discuss any words that the refugees aren’t familiar with. We eventually take turns to read the scripture and sometimes watch a small video clip about the passage. We then discuss what we think about the passage and how it can be used in our day-to-day lives. At the end, we ask the participants if anyone would like prayer for anything affecting their lives.
I’m a nut and bolt man. I can’t solve everyone’s problems. But I can be a friend. I love volunteering at Upbeat. Why don’t you think about how you could make a difference too?