Hi. I’m Ruth and I’m a volunteer at the West Hub for NSNO. I’ve been volunteering there since September. For my blog, I wanted to chat about what a shift involves. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, and are wondering if you should come and join us, this will give you some insight into how straightforward and rewarding it is.
My shift starts at 6pm on Sunday evening. I chat to the staff on duty in the office, and then head into the main hub to say hello to all the clients and note down who’s in. The tasks I take care of on a shift are basically anything that needs doing but no one else has time to do! The staff all need to focus on getting the clients moved into accommodation, so anything that could divert them from that is where I help out. Answering the door (I lose count of how many times!). Washing towels. Stock take. Tidying up. Shredding. Sounds dull, doesn’t it? But it really isn’t. Between all these small tasks, I chat with clients, which is the best part of the job.
Clients come from so many different backgrounds. City workers, builders, sales people. A Londoner who loves monopoly, a quiet smiling Somalian, a chatty and determined Lithuanian. An anxious mother, a husband and wife who spend all evening reading, a few people with dogs. I’ve learned that homelessness can affect anyone.
About 9.30pm, I finish up my tasks, make another note of who’s in and out and have a cup of tea and a chat with the staff. I leave at 10pm. 4 hours really does fly by. As I head home on the tube, I wonder who will be there next week. It’s good when someone you met isn’t there any more. That may seem strange, but it’s great to hear that people have been found accommodation, and moved on in life and that I was a small part of that. I don’t think a volunteering role could be more rewarding!