Tell us about your role and typical volunteering shift
I volunteer at Aberdeen Cyrenians' residential project, Wernham House, in the evenings to do activities with the residents, this can include listening to music, playing pool, board games and bingo. Sometimes the residents just want to tell you about how they are and it's nice for them to see a different face to speak to.
I also volunteer at Street Alternatives which can include cooking a meal for the service users but also spending time speaking to them.
How did you find out about volunteering at Aberdeen Cyrenians? What made you want to volunteer?
I have always been interested with working with the homeless and wanted to find a volunteer role which also helped to boost my confidence and self esteem so I looked on the internet to find out how I went by doing this. I was looking to volunteer with Cyrenians at Christmas but the volunteer roles had already been filled, however, I was sent me information about volunteering regularly - that was two years ago and I haven't looked back!
If a friend wanted to volunteer, what would you say was the best thing about volunteering with us?
Everyone is friendly, you are made to feel welcomed when you come in the front door, you make a lot of new friends. Also when you have volunteered you feel that you have helped people that are less fortunate than you. Also you have a laugh not only with the other volunteers but also with the service users.
I thought that when someone was homeless it meant that they did not have a house and they were sleeping rough. Since volunteering you learn that homelessness means more than that.
Has your understanding and perception of homelessness changed since you have been volunteering here?
Yes it has because I thought that when someone was homeless it meant that they did not have a house and they were sleeping rough. Since volunteering you learn that homelessness means more than that - you might only be in temporary accommodation which means that your circumstances could change at any time, you could also be sleeping on a sofa at a friends house. You can also be at risk of homelessness if you have a permanent house but you can not afford gas, cooking facilities or if you are unable to to look after yourself due to mental health issues.
What’s the one thing in your role that you did not expect?
To make as many friends as I have, to be able to be myself and not be judged for it. Also since volunteering at the Cyrenians I have learned to cook for my parents and sister. Also I did not expect to see so many people who are homeless and need help who can only turn to Aberdeen Cyrenians.
Volunteers' Week runs from 1-7 June 2019, providing a chance to recognise and thank the amazing contribution that volunteers make to our charity.