A Volunteer’s View

So, volunteering for homelessness organisations in Manchester. Is it all about ‘doing your bit’?

In a way, yes. But it’s also about meeting new people, having a laugh, working as a team, getting some exercise, (trust me, a shift in a busy kitchen burns those cals) and mingling with the good people of Manchester who have been tagged with the label ‘homeless’. I believe it’s time for a shift in perception, time to look beyond the labels and time for us to give something that doesn’t cost a penny but is worth so much. Your time.

This article is not about me, but I found myself homeless six months ago. Strange expression ‘found myself homeless’. Strange but true. I didn’t predict it. Never saw it coming. This is the same for many people on the streets right now. They didn’t ask for it and they don’t want it.

There are many organisations here in Manchester who are actively helping this situation in many different ways. And if you want to help and give your time please visit streetsupport.net and click on the ‘Give Help’ link. This will give you a list of all the organisations out there and how you can help.

As for me, I volunteer at a few of the organisations listed. Sometimes I wash pots, sometimes I cook, sometimes I mentor, sometimes I write and edit articles, sometimes I make films (watch this space), sometimes I make tea and coffee.

Right now I’m on a work placement with the good folks at Street Support. I’m not currently employed, (if someone wants to give me a job – I’d be very grateful!), so I give what I can in terms of my time when I’m not ‘job seeking’.

When I do find a job, hopefully in this sector, I’ll still give my time freely. Why? Because I’m altruistic? No. Because I enjoy it. Sometimes it’s hectic, sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s a little chaotic. But it’s always, always rewarding.

So we need you! Your time. Your skills. Your enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter what you can do or what skills you have. You’ll be made welcome by these organisations and the people they serve. And should you happen to see me there, come and say hello and I’ll get the kettle on.

We look forward to welcoming you.