Behind the scenes

Carmen’s Story

Romanian Translation Volunteer, Bristol

I came from Romania to the UK in December 2013 to do care work. After nine months, I became a Care Coordinator. I love my job as I love to help people and when I saw The Big Issue was looking for translation volunteers I really wanted to get involved.

It’s been an eye-opening experience for me. I’ve been able to help staff work with people who are in real crisis so I really feel like I’m making a difference, which is what I wanted. I’ve been translating at a weekly drop-in for the Roma vendors. They often face discrimination in their day to day lives but with our help they are able to tackle this and it’s great to see them take control and live full and happy lives here in the UK.

Volunteering at The Big Issue is a lot of fun too – I went to the City Farm with vendors for the afternoon looking at all the animals and gardening.

Martha, our Service Broker in Bristol said: “Carmen is an amazing member of our team who has supported all our Romanian speaking vendors with so much positive stuff. With her support we have had two vendors access stop smoking services, 18 vendors speak with a mental wellbeing service during health week, 10 enrol with ESOL classes at St Mungo’s Recovery College, and too many vendors to count engaging with SARI (Stand Against Racism & Inequality) and the Avon and Bristol Law Centre to get support around housing, community care and dealing with being victims of discrimination and racism. Carmen helps during the National Career Service’s CV appointments, which enables vendors to move into employment, and she also translates during our in-house Outcome Star Reviews, thereby allowing us to effectively monitor all of our vendors’ progress.”

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