Tell us about your role and typical volunteering shift
I was asked to assist service users with their use of computers, to help with emails, online form completion and preparation of CVs using my experience gained as an IT Instructor.
I’m also kept busy with the preparation of food parcels!
How did you find out about volunteering at Aberdeen Cyrenians? What made you want to volunteer?
Students had been using the Aberdeen Cyrenians website as part of assessments giving plenty of exposure to Aberdeen Cyrenians aims and objectives. This showed that Aberdeen Cyrenians were meeting the basic needs of people who are homeless in a direct and active way from Summer Street and elsewhere in Aberdeen. The wider community seemed to be involved in their work and it felt like a good fit with my own interests and past work and volunteering activities.
If a friend wanted to volunteer, what would you say was the best thing about volunteering with us?
Volunteers are involved in meeting the practical needs of the service users and usually they are left to get on with the job while being very well supported by full time staff who have a very inclusive approach to their work with volunteers. The service users are almost always very appreciative of their efforts.
Has your understanding and perception of homelessness changed since you have been volunteering here?
The difficulties that come from being homeless prevents people from leading constructive lives. Having a settled place to stay is one of the most important foundations in life and for those without it, especially those with dependents, it’s a terrifying experience. I was aware of homelessness before but volunteering has made me realise how intractable it can be and how worthwhile the work of Aberdeen Cyrenians is.
Meeting people who are homeless has made me more aware of how damaging this can to be to individuals, couples, their families and society
What’s the one thing in your role that you did not expect?
Volunteers' Week runs from 1-7 June 2019, providing a chance to recognise and thank the amazing contribution that volunteers make to our charity.