It’s Volunteers Week (1-12 June) and we’ve been celebrating the great work that our volunteers do and the huge difference they make to our services and our clients. They’ve shared their stories and the varied experiences that volunteering can bring. Below are just a few of our wonderful volunteers as they explain what makes volunteering at St Mungo’s so rewarding.
If you’re interested in making a difference in your local community, why not have a look at our website and see what you could be doing.
Keith – I’ve been volunteering with the PAL Team in the Bristol Compass Centre for about ten months.
Originally, I started volunteering as I was looking for something to do and wanted to make a difference.
Having spent most of my life out on the streets and working with the Outreach Team, I feel I’ve managed to get myself in a good enough place that I can be an inspiration so others know that there is a way out.
I’ve come on a long way, I’ve been a client and the Compass Centre has done a lot for me.
I’ve come to see the value of working with clients and giving that ongoing support. I’m looking to work more in this area and have recently been successful in applying for the St Mungo’s locum list.
I feel satisfied about volunteering, a sense of gratitud
e. It’s about empowering clients to feel motivated and to know that they can do things for themselves.
Liya – When I first started to volunteer with StreetLink, my initial plan was to volunteer for six months but I ended up staying for a year and then applying for a permanent job here.
I believe it’s a rewarding job given the fact it involves homelessness and the satisfaction you get from it is overwhelming.
During my time volunteering with StreetLink, I also volunteered at the St Mungo’s Horn of Africa Health and Wellbeing service as a translator.
Volunteering on the project was a great opportunity as it gave me an idea of what was happening with the current refugee crisis and made me aware of the situation.
The stories I heard from the people I met were incredible. Also at the same time, I volunteered with the Volunteer Services team providing support with admin, so I can proudly say I was a full time volunteer at St Mungo’s!
Volunteering with St Mungo’s was exciting, interesting and I really enjoyed my time so much – all the way from being a full time volunteer to an employee.
The organisation made me open my eyes about the homelessness sector and I have the utmost respect for all the great services St Mungo’s is providing to help prevent homelessness.
Nick – I’ve been volunteering at the Bristol Compass Centre for three years now.
I started off in the kitchen and progressed to reception and then onto helping Outreach, ACE (Assertive Contact and Engagement Service), and now I volunteer with the PAL (Peer Advice Link) team.
I first started volunteering to gain new experiences to help me get a job working with homeless people and I was successful!
I’ll be starting an apprenticeship with St Mungo’s in a couple of weeks.
Volunteering has been very interesting. The atmosphere here can be quite lively and pretty challenging – it’s really helped me gain confidence.
Andrea – I have been volunteering with Mulberry House in Bath for over three years.
As a chartered physiotherapist, I offer a range of expertise on musculoskeletal issues whether sports related or postural as well as, exercise advice.
I also teach and facilitate contemplative practices such as yoga and mindfulness. The combination works well as incorporating these skills I am able to offer support on issues such as relaxation, stress relief and sleep.
Each week my slots are like ‘The Ask Andrea sessions’ where residents can come with a variety of issues depending on what they need, working on an individual basis.
Our sessions are simple as I now appreciate that the space I create is sacred, safe and valuable.
I continue to work at Mulberry House because the residents and staff are great!
I love the seemingly “small” gains that clients report; that they used a particular skill or during a session they achieved something that lifted their self-esteem or gave them hope to experience things differently.
The smile or sense of recognition on their face as they realise this is really at the heart of why I continue to support the residents at Mulberry.
Ellie – I’ve been volunteering at the Bristol Compass Centre for the past few months, helping on reception and with the PAL Team.
I wanted to volunteer as I’ve been where the clients are and I didn’t know services like this were available to me.
If I can help just one person, then that’s good enough for me.
I love volunteering. You get a real sense of gratitude and achievement. I love it, it’s such a buzz!