New Befriending Coordinator for ‘Restore’

On Tuesday 6 April, Catherine Bridgwood took up the role of Befriending Co-ordinator at ‘Restore.’ Restore is a project of Birmingham Churches Together, working with refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham, Solihull and Smethwick. Restore’s vision is to see ‘a society into which all refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, valued and integrated.

Prior to joining the Restore team, Catherine worked as a Refugee Support Worker with Ashley Community Housing. She has extensive experience of the voluntary and faith sectors, including Fatima House, Brushstrokes, St Chad’s Sanctuary, Carrs Lane Lived Community and the Columban Lay Missionaries. Having been a Restore befriender, Catherine understands the role from a volunteer’s perspective, which will help her to support befrienders, particularly new volunteers.

Reflecting on her experiences, Catherine writes, ‘The greatest joy in all of this has been the amazing encounters I have had with people. I have found work with refugees and asylum seekers to be deeply challenging, seeking to walk alongside people who have faced such trauma and loss, but at the same time hugely life-giving in the way I have been welcomed into people’s lives and stories. I look forward to working for Restore where encouraging these life-giving relationships is at the heart of what you do.’

Mauricio Silva, Chair of the Restore Management Committee and a Trustee of Birmingham Churches Together writes, ‘On behalf of the Management Committee and the Birmingham Churches Together Trustees, I am delighted to welcome Catherine as the new Befriending Coordinator. She joins an excellent team which serves asylum seekers and refugees with compassion and professionalism. May the hospitable God grant Catherine a life-giving journey with her new colleagues, with Restore’s asylum seeker and refugee friends, befrienders and supporters.’

In her new role as Befriending Coordinator, Catherine will lead Restore’s befriending work among women. Her priorities will include getting to know the people with whom Restore works, interviewing new volunteers and making new befriending matches. Read more about Restore HERE.

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