Maryhill Integration Network

Volunteers

Fund

Organisation

Maryhill Integration Network

Maryhill Integration Network (MIN) brings refugee, migrant and local communities together through, art, social, cultural and educational groups and projects, offering people a chance to learn new skills, meet new people, share experiences and take part in worthwhile activities to improve their lives and the life of their communities.

MIN works in partnership to develop projects and services that meet the needs of the local community. These aim to build bonds and links within and between communities to encourage cross-cultural understanding and celebrate diversity.

MIN understands that integration is not possible by working with only a particular group within the community and so encourages participation from people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities living within Greater Maryhill, the North West area of Glasgow and beyond.

Volunteer ‘B’, female aged 31 who is a Refugee

“Before I came to the UK from Algeria I had a very full life. I worked as a primary teacher and had a lot of structure to my life.

When I came to the UK in September 2013 everything changed. I feel like I lost all of my independence because I couldn’t work and was now relying on my husband, I became pregnant with my first son and I didn’t know anyone.

But I made a friend who brought me to a Christmas party at MIN and I joined the women’s group so I could meet other women and join the activities. When I come to the women’s group it feels like I’m going to my family’s house.

I could see the things that volunteers do for the group, going shopping, talking to people, helping with translation for people, preparing food, cleaning the room.

And when I saw people doing all these things I wanted to help too and also volunteer.

Because I have children, it’s very important for me that MIN has a creche available so I can volunteer. There have been many activities in Glasgow I wanted to go to but they don’t have a creche or provide childcare so it’s impossible.

Last year I decided I was ready to volunteer.

MIN paid my childcare so that I could come to the volunteer celebration Lunch at Christmas. The travel expenses give me my independence because I don’t have to rely on my husband to drive me.

Because I volunteer I take proof to the nursery and now they can take one of my sons for the full day and I am so happy to take a break. Thursdays are my favourite day of the week now!

Every two years I have to do more forms for residence and I show them that I’m volunteering in the community, it’s very important for them.

I’m waiting for a place at college to learn a higher level of English. Eventually I want to be able to teach again but I never want to separate from MIN.

I want to continue volunteering and being involved here because it has helped me so much and so I want to give back and keep helping other people”.