What is the Solidarity and Support Network?
The Solidarity and Support Network (SSuN) brings together volunteers who are keen to support the work of field volunteers in the refugee camps in Europe and of volunteers working with refugees in the UK.
Following a ‘buddying’- model, individual SSuN volunteers are paired with individual field workers and make contact via telephone or Skype. This can be either while field workers are in refugee camps in Europe or following their return. Confidential support and solidarity is offered through regular conversations. If you are interested in receiving support from SSuN, please get in touch.
SSuN also offer a range of workshops and written information. These include training on trauma, working with vulnerable people (e.g. children or people who have been trafficked), or topic such as supporting the self and collective care of field workers. Get in touch if here are particular workshops or resources that would be helpful to you.
A call to all current and past field volunteers – please complete our survey
Please take a moment to complete the SSuN workshop survey for volunteers. Completing the survey will take only a few minutes. It will help us at SSuN develop workshops and training that are relevant to YOU and other field volunteers. You can complete the survey online here: SSuN Workshop Survey Your help is greatly appreciated – Thank you!
From the coordinators of SSUN:
We would expect everyone to be affected in some way by the awful conditions, circumstances and injustices of the camps. We are all likely to experience a whole range of emotions in response. For those working in the camps returning home can be difficult and bring on feelings of guilt, anxiety about people left behind and a sense of separation from friends and family in the UK who have not shared the same experience. There can be “reverse culture shock”. All of these experiences and many others are usual although they can be experienced in a range of ways by field workers.
Many of the camp volunteers are linked to quite small and widely stretched organisations that may lack resources to provide ongoing support or debriefing to staff. It can be difficult for camp volunteers to discuss some of these ranges of experiences whilst still with their teams on the ground.
Our hope is that by providing a safe and separate conversation with a SSuN buddy either whilst still at the camp or once home, this can help normalise some of these experiences and provide a chance to reflect and be heard. Perhaps helping to guard against burnout, hopelessness or worries about disclosing too much information to close team members.