It is the very foundation of inclusion and diversity on which the project has based itself that has allowed it to become so successful.
In September 2016 the project began as a NUSU Go Volunteer pilot project under the name ‘Homework Club’. Six students travelled to Gateshead every Saturday to teach English to a group of ten refugees.
In October, the original six took on the leadership of the project, marking the beginning of a period of expansion by changing the name to N.E.S.T. Advertising for donations of books hugely increased the supply of resources available.
November saw a rapid increase in the number of refugees attending the sessions as local charities and colleges became aware of the project. Student volunteers increased to match the numbers of refugees allowing the continuation of one to one tutoring. Project leads received leadership training and worked with International House to provide teacher training to all of volunteers on the project.
Two project leads were sponsored by International House to complete a teaching qualification which led to improvements in teaching standards at sessions.
In December, N.E.S.T held a winter party to recognise the achievements of the project and the progress of the students. This event celebrated the friendships and community which have been created between students and refugees.
In January, an outreach project ‘N.E.S.T Beyond Barriers’ was initiated aiming to take footage of lessons and produce small films to be made available online to reach more refugees who don’t have the means to travel. The project was awarded funding from the NUSU Go Volunteer Santander Digital Grants Scheme.