Support Worker at Brighton Exiled/Refugee Trauma Service (BERTS)

BERTS is a dedicated trauma service hosted by Brighton & Hove CBT, for refugees, asylum seekers and destitute migrants in Sussex. BERTS is a no-cost service. It is a voluntary service run for the benefit of the community.

We offer free specialist trauma counselling and psychotherapy to local people to help them come to terms with their relocation in the UK, after what can be very difficult experiences for themselves and their families in their countries of origin. Whilst patients are waiting for trauma psychological treatment, BERTS can also offer a support worker befriending scheme, as this can be several months. Clients meet regularly with a befriender who can help with cultural issues, form filling, doctor’s appointments, literacy support, and offers more general support (but not psychotherapy).

What does the opportunity involve doing?

The support worker role is aimed at clients who are awaiting treatment from BERTS for mental health conditions, and continues to support the client while the client is under the care of a psychotherapist. The support worker does not provide mental health treatment but is a befriending and facilitating role.

Tasks will include regular meetings with clients, acting as advocates as they approach a number of agencies and/or institutions, from medical services to housing; help with relocating and settling into the community; finding support with English language. The support worker is also a befriender, who provides a regular and consistent contact with the client in order to combat isolation and loneliness.

Support workers will aim to meet with their client once a week, for approximately 1 hour, and must be able to commit to the role for a minimum of 6 months.

Please note, due to Safeguarding reasons we can only accept volunteers over the age of 21 or with previous experience working with this client group, and you would need an Enhanced DBS check to work with refugees and asylum seekers, BERTS can apply for this on your behalf.

Any volunteers applying who are not UK nationals must have a clear criminal records check (police check) from your country of origin, which is dated within the last year prior to applying to volunteer.

Please email for an application form.

What induction, training and support is offered?

BERTS has a comprehensive staff handbook with guidelines and policies to support the work of volunteers. Support workers will have weekly contacted with their line manager and will receive advise and support in response to any concerns or queries. The learning and development is ongoing through experience; fully supported by managers and therapists that share the care of clients.

What skills or qualities are needed?

Excellent interpersonal skills are essential along with the ability to work autonomously. You will enjoy taking the initiative and the challenge of problem solving and will work in a positive and empowering way on behalf of others.

Previous experience within the mental health and refugee sector would be ideal as would previous work with young or vulnerable people or a direct role in support work and befriending; but an interest in these areas may be enough if other qualities of befriending are strong.

More info
Date added

27th July 2023


City wide

Deadline for applications

30 Sep 2024


Black and minority ethnic groups Non-English speakers/refugees Other groups


Advocacy/advice Befriending

Disabled access?


Expenses paid?


Childcare available?


Contact name

Sally Goodwin

More info »