Local charity Community Impact Bucks has recruited volunteers from across the county to offer their interpretation language skills, for free, to newly arrived Ukrainians settling in Buckinghamshire.
The Volunteer Community Interpreter Initiative aims to help Ukrainians, and the groups and charities that support them, by overcoming language difficulties through the use of a volunteer interpreter who is fluent in Ukrainian or Russian, as well as English.
Many Ukrainians have sought sanctuary in Buckinghamshire towns and villages thanks to the Homes for Ukraine scheme and the generosity of host families throughout the county. However, for many Ukrainians their level of English language skills presents a pressing issue. From starting at school or college, applying for work, travelling, finding information or simply trying to connect with local people – being unable to speak, read or write in English can make day-to-day activities extremely difficult.
Katie Higginson, Chief Executive of Community Impact Bucks, explains: “Without sharing a common language, navigating support and finding help can be incredibly daunting for Ukrainians and their host families. Our volunteer interpreters are there to help. They provide informal language support to help Ukrainians settle into their new community and make friends. They don’t replace professional interpreters who might be needed for legal or medical meetings, but they can help in more informal settings – attending coffee mornings, school visits or open days, online meetings or events. All of these activities ensure that Ukrainians really can feel a part of their local community.“
The interpreter initiative provides a network of friendly interpreters ready to volunteer their language skills. Inna, one of the volunteer interpreters, came to the UK in February 2022 with her British husband. She has Ukrainian, Russian and English speaking skills and wanted to help Ukrainian refugees integrate into their local community. Inna explains: “So far I’ve been able to help at a community social gathering and by acting as an interpreter at online meetings. Coming to a new country under such difficult circumstances is incredibly traumatic. I’m so pleased to be able to help Ukrainian people that are so far from home and their families.”
Katie continues: “We’d love to help more Ukrainians with our Volunteer Community Interpreter Initiative and encourage them, their hosts and the groups that support them to contact us for our free help.”
Anyone wishing to find out more should visit www.communityimpactbucks.org.uk or if you would like to request the services of a Volunteer Community Interpreter, please fill in the online Request for a Volunteer Interpreter form.
To read about the experiences of Volunteer Matching Service volunteers, go to our case studies webpage (select Volunteer Community Interpreter).
For any media enquiries, please contact Liz Woznicki at Community Impact Bucks: email@example.com / 0330 2369350.
- Community Impact Bucks is a local charity which helps people to get involved in their local community and make Buckinghamshire a better place to live. We do this in three ways: by helping people find volunteering opportunities; by providing expert advice and training to not-for-profit groups; and through our community services which support those most in need in the county – the elderly, vulnerable and socially isolated.
- Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service is run by Community Impact Bucks and matches registered volunteers to roles where they are most needed in the county.
- The Ukraine Community Support project, funded by Buckinghamshire Council and delivered by Community Impact Bucks, supports charities, voluntary and community groups and social enterprises that enable Ukrainians to thrive in Buckinghamshire. Organisations can access a wide range of online resources and guidance on the Community Impact Bucks website, a dedicated networking Facebook group and regular newsletter providing advice and updates.