We have a wide and varied range of volunteer roles available. Everyone has something they can offer – whether it’s a professional skill such as accounting, hairdressing or IT. You might simply want to help out with some basic tasks around the Nightshelter like washing up, making tea, admin or just having a chat with our residents. Some of our volunteer roles don’t even require you to come into the Nightshelter such as cooking a meal at home. Over recent months we have expanded our service to ensure our residents can remain at ‘home’ during lockdown. Our increased opening hours mean we are in need of additional volunteers and at the moment we are looking for people to help during the daytime at weekends.

All our volunteers receive training and will always be supervised on site by qualified members of staff. Every volunteer is asked to complete a taster session. A DBS check will also be undertaken.

Regular volunteer roles:

Overnight volunteers

We are in desperate need of volunteers to become part of our team of overnighters. This vital role provides back-up support to the evening Project Worker by being present on-site overnight. Without our overnight volunteers we would not be able to open our doors every night of the year.

Overnight volunteers arrive at 9pm and assist the member of staff until around 11pm with tasks such as making tea, tidying up, chatting to residents. They then sleep in a private bedroom on our freshly made, comfy overnighter’s bed, with access to free WiFi and use of the staff bathroom. Overnighters are requested to stay until 8am the following morning. Overnight volunteers help out as regularly as they can with some coming weekly and others just a night every couple of months.

Hours: 9pm – 8am.

Saturday and Sunday daytime volunteers

Since the beginning of lockdown, the Nightshelter has opened all day on Saturday and Sunday to ensure residents can stay ‘home’ and safe. Weekends have quite a casual, laid back feel with residents using it as an opportunity to relax and enjoy some quiet time.

There is always a member of staff on duty, weekend slots for volunteers run from 9am to midday, midday to 3pm and 3pm to 6pm. Volunteers may help prepare vegetables for the evening meal, put out afternoon cakes, or sort and pack away donated clothes.

There is the opportunity to sit in the TV lounge at a social distance and chat with residents or simply bring in a book or catch up on personal emails. The important thing is to be a ‘presence’ at the Nightshelter because, without a volunteer helper, the Nightshelter is not allowed to open. In addition, there are the usual evening and night-time volunteer roles.
Hours: 3-hour slots from 9am.

Evening volunteers

Our evening volunteers come in from 6pm and volunteer alongside a trained member of staff. They are on hand as residents come in for the evening and may be required to make tea, fold laundry or help in the kitchen or office. Hours: 6pm (5pm Saturdays) until 9pm.

Kitchen volunteers/evening chefs

Our evening kitchen helpers come in from 6.30pm every night to either prepare an evening meal for our residents from scratch, or else heat and serve a pre-prepared meal. To ensure social distancing in the kitchen, volunteer cooks are currently not teaming up to do a shift unless they are from the same household. Support is available from the Evening Helper on duty to prepare the dining room. Hours: 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Volunteers with relevant professional expertise

If you have a professional skill that you feel might be relevant to our service we would love to hear from you. We have previously had expertise donated in the following areas: life coaching, drug and alcohol support, counselling, hairdressing, well-being, acupuncture, yoga and IT. Please get in touch if you feel your skills can enhance the lives of our residents.

To enquire about any of the volunteering roles above, please contact the Nightshelter office on admin@wcns.org.uk or phone 01962 862050 for further information.

Other daytime volunteer roles include:

Cleaning and housekeeping volunteers

To ensure that the Nightshelter remains a clean and welcoming place for residents. Tasks include cleaning, laundry and organising donated goods such as clothes and toiletries. Hours: Flexible.

Office admin/helper

We usually welcome volunteers to provide administrative assistance in our small, friendly but busy office. Tasks include typing, filing, sorting deliveries, answering the door and the phone and generally helping out around the Nightshelter. At the moment, due to the pandemic, we are keeping footfall to minimum so cannot have additional office volunteers but hope to be able to again in the future. Hours: Flexible.

Home cooking teams

Our residents love the daily home-cooked, nutritious meals that we serve, and which are an important part of the service we provide, but it can be a struggle for us to provide for all our residents every evening. We are always looking for volunteers or groups who can cook a meal at home and bring it in for us to freeze or serve that evening. Hours: Flexible.

What our volunteers say:

“I have been volunteering for 18 months, and it is by far one of the best things I have ever done. I have got back so much more than I have given. It has brought me joy – I would recommend the experience to anyone”


Deb

“Through volunteering at the Nightshelter I have learnt patience and also professionalism. As a young person, I feel in many ways that I’ve learnt more from the Nightshelter than I can offer in return. I have scratched the surface of learning about some of the realities of homelessness, and this is something that I advocate generally to peers, friends etc. – the recognition that homelessness is complex, and cannot be disregarded as simply down to lack of shelter. I have learnt a lot about the Nightshelter, and it has made me more mature as a person. My understanding of homelessness has changed considerably and to me, this has changed how I am.”


Student Volunteer

“I would say that volunteering as an overnighter at the Nightshelter is the most comfortable, and probably the easiest, volunteering role a person is ever likely to do – it is quite literally volunteering while you sleep! It doesn’t encroach on your day, because the volunteer isn’t needed until 9.00pm. Duties in the evening are light, and always end around 11.00pm because all the residents are required to be in their rooms then. The overnight volunteer gets their own room, a very comfortable bed, clean sheets, and use of the staff bathroom. At 8.00am the next morning (or 8.30am at weekends) I leave and start my day. Where is the work in that? It’s also great to feel that I am helping so many people just by staying the night.”


Maggie