Connecting Opportunities builds independence through Volunteering

Inclusive Integration


  • Service Area: Inclusive Integration
  • Programme: Connecting Opportunities
  • Values: We Care, We are Committed

Yasmin’s story: Moving from Pakistan to the UK, to join her husband, Yasmin* felt isolated,  wanted to become independent and feel part of the local community in her new home. Halifax Opportunities Trust helped Yasmin with wrap around support, which has led to her becoming a volunteer for the Trust.

Yasmin was initially introduced to Halifax Opportunities Trust to support her in becoming fluent in English. As part of the Connecting Opportunities program, Yasmin signed up to ESOL classes delivered by the Inclusive Integration team, based at Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre.

Building connections and confidence

Due to her situation, Yasmin initially felt lonely and lacked confidence. Through the Trust’s Inclusive Integration team, Yasmin was able to overcome this thanks to a range of services available. Not only did she have a key worker to assist her, but she received English language and employability support, as well as help in converting her 4-5 Level Post-Graduate degree in Tertiary Education NVQ level.

This helped Yasmin in her aims and ambitions to gain employment in the UK, with relevant qualifications and the ability to confidently speak to employers thanks to the ESOL and vocational courses provided by the Trust.

Becoming part of the community

A large part of the Inclusive Integration service is to help migrants and those new to the country feel settled, independent and a part of the community. This is achieved through a range of activities and initiatives throughout Calderdale and often links with other service areas of the Trust.

As Yasmin’s confidence and skills grew, so did her awareness of the Trust and the many services it provides. Putting her new skills in to practice, Yasmin decided to become a volunteer befriender for Halifax Opportunities Trust – supporting others who feel lonely or socially isolated; something Yasmin had a deep understanding and empathy of.

Helping others grow

After receiving the relevant volunteer training to become a volunteer e.g. GDPR, health and safety awareness, as well as gaining a qualification in level 2 Safeguarding. Yasmin began volunteering as a befriender and continues to support many Connecting Opportunities participants, just like her.

Yasmin comments: “This is such a rewarding role. I wanted to stay part of the team and give back to help local people overcome barriers.”

The befriending role is crucial for many Connecting Opportunities participants. Without volunteers it would not be possible to support local people in such a successful way.  Here at Halifax Opportunities Trust, we are pleased to celebrate the work of each and every volunteer.

Gaining experience and employment

As an incentive for her volunteering role, Yasmin has been supported to successfully achieve a Level 3 Teaching qualification.

And, through the support of the Connecting Opportunities program, both as a participant and volunteer, Yasmin has now secured successful employment as a Community Support worker with a local employer. An excellent achievement which highlights just how valuable volunteering can be.

Yasmin says: “I receive positive feedback from the clients I support and I can see how befriending is making a difference to people’s lives.  Volunteer roles are very important and I have first-hand experience of how organisations like HOT both value and support their volunteers.”

Yasmin wants to continue with her volunteering role as a befriender. She appreciates the support she has had all the way through her journey on the Connecting Opportunities program, delivered by HOT’s Inclusive Integration team, and feels very proud of her achievements.

Find out more about our Inclusive Integration Service here:

*Name and image changed to protect individual’s identity.

Connecting Opportunities