Last month saw The Well Multi-Cultural Resource Centre re-open its doors for face-to-face Advice Consultations for the first time since December 2020. We were keen to re-open as soon as restriction-easing would allow, as we know how much our clients depend on face-to-face service. With English being a second language to the vast majority of our clients, communication via the telephone as proved challenging for both clients and volunteers, particularly when online processes were involved. In fact, many clients come to The Well because they are not confident at speaking in English over the phone and they want us to make phone calls on their behalf.
When providing face-to-face Advice at The Well, we often use Translators as a last resort. This is because our clients report to us how much their English language skills have improved through coming to The Well. We take the time to listen and understand non-verbal ques and our clients’ confidence grows when they are able to successfully communicate their issue.
Seeing our clients face-to-face also gives us more opportunity to communicate empathy and demonstrate more hospitality (which is very important in many cultures). We have loved being able to see our clients again (even with masks on!), and only wish we were able to help more people each day.
The restrictions mean that we are limited in how long we can spend with each client (we still allow up to 45 minutes to deal with complex issues), and how many people we can have in the building. We also need extra time to clean in between clients. This sadly means that many clients are turned away each day.
This situation could be improved by additional volunteers so that more clients can be seen simultaneously. Last year our volunteer team reduced significantly due to various reasons such as new employment, moving away and health concerns.
Do you want to use your skills to make a difference to disadvantaged ethnic minority communities in Glasgow?
Do you have a free morning or afternoon each week that you could commit to voluntary work?
We are looking for volunteer Advice Workers to join our team!
Essentials: good communication skills, confident in completing online processes, compassion and patience!
Desirables: customer-facing experience, some knowledge of the welfare system, cross-cultural experience, able to ‘hit the ground running’
Training will be provided.