We are so grateful to all our wonderful volunteers who offer their help, support and professional expertise to us in various ways. Below you can read about how and why different volunteers help the Nightshelter.
Lisa Boyd, Citrus Training
Lisa provides free coaching to help people improve their self-confidence.
It was an easy decision to help Winchester Churches Nightshelter on a voluntary basis. When working as a solicitor in London, the first charity I supported was Shelter because I saw so many homeless people on my commute each day, and felt acutely aware of how fortunate I was.
Part of the culture of Citrus was always to help others in need. Everyone can benefit from coaching (even coaches have coaching!). I see the benefits with my professional clients from small behaviour changes that make a difference to how they impact on others; to major changes which improve their lives – whether professionally or personally. I would like to see the executive coaching work I do extended to as many people who would value it as possible.
My academic roots lie in psychology and studies in recent years show that giving and showing gratitude help us to stay positive and optimistic and thereby improve our wellbeing. Offering pro bono coaching to those who I know will really value and benefit from coaching, but who simply cannot afford to pay, is therefore my way of giving, and I am grateful to be in a position to do so. However, there is a limit to how much time I can donate in this way. My goal is for the business to be able to turn over sufficient funds from paying clients, so that I can pay others to coach within the charity sector without charge.
I coach people who want to make changes in their lives for the better and have the means to do so; rough sleepers and those in temporary accommodation are people with some of the most extreme examples of life transition, and WCNS supports them through all means possible. I know the work I do for WCNS is valued and by supporting the staff at WCNS, I am helping them be their best selves so that they can deliver the best service they can to their clients; so I feel I am indirectly supporting the homeless too. It is my way of giving and remaining grateful that I can do so.
Caroline, Admin Volunteer
Caroline, one of our long-standing volunteers, offers administrative support to the Nightshelter once a week.
I’ve been volunteering at the Nightshelter since 2010. I help out in the office doing whatever is necessary, from answering the telephone to taking in meal deliveries, writing thank you letters for donations, filing, and as back-up to staff when needed. I come into the Nightshelter at least once a week and sometimes every day when the Administrator is on leave. I feel that I am very lucky to have my own front door key and I like to think that in a small way I am helping someone else get theirs as well.
I’m not sure what I expected, but certainly the image that a lot of people have of rows of bunk beds in a cold room could not be further from the truth. The Nightshelter feels really homely and is very clean with nice single-, two- or three-bedded rooms. The meals that are served are all home-made and are either made on site or brought in by other volunteers. It’s a welcoming and friendly place to stay, and also to volunteer.
I am more aware that homelessness is a real and growing problem. I also appreciate that one should try not to judge others in any way – there are so many different reasons that can lead someone to homelessness. The stereotypes of the homeless person that are often conjured up couldn’t be further from the truth – it really could happen to anyone. The thought that I am hopefully giving something back and being useful in a small way.