Volunteers' Week 2019 - Brenda

Brenda Street Alternatives

Tell us about your role and typical volunteering shift

Every Tuesday I spend 3.5 hours in the kitchen cooking and preparing for Street Alternatives. I work with Sandra because it is more fun with two! We try to make best use of the food donated to the service and ensure nothing is wasted.

How did you find out about volunteering at Aberdeen Cyrenians? What made you want to volunteer?

I started to volunteer when I worked at Chevron. At that point the company provided two volunteers for each Street Alternatives session, Tuesday and Thursday. The rota was managed within Chevron and made it very easy to find a swap. The rota meant coming along once or twice a month. I was able to do this because the timing of the sessions fitted with my working day. Another factor was that my family were older and required less support after school. Speaking to other volunteers, I decided it was a good place to support.

If a friend wanted to volunteer, what would you say was the best thing about volunteering with us?

I like that Aberdeen Cyrenians is a local organisation with no national centre to fund. The service users are assessed and given access to any support required. The people you meet are all enthusiastic about what they do.

Volunteering means helping others but also gives that feel good factor.

Has your understanding and perception of homelessness changed since you have been volunteering here?

I understand now how complex the needs of the individual can be and homelessness is only one symptom. All kinds of people from all backgrounds can need help sometimes. It is easy for someone with problems to become isolated from family and friends.

What’s the one thing in your role that you did not expect?

Fun and social opportunities. The Christmas meal is excellent and lots of fun. The awards ceremony last year was very well done too. Also, when I started volunteering I said I wouldn’t manage to cook for so many people – now I do!


Volunteers' Week runs from 1-7 June 2019, providing a chance to recognise and thank the amazing contribution that volunteers make to our charity.

Find out more about supporting Aberdeen Cyrenians.