What will I get out of this?
This role can be extremely rewarding and satisfying. Not only will you meet new people, but you will also have the opportunity to listen to people’s stories and offer them practical support and assistance. You will also get the chance, through training and work experience, to develop new skills. If you are interested in finding paid work in this area, volunteering is a great way to get a foot in the door.
What will I be expected to give back?
Working with homeless people can be extremely demanding and challenging. You will be dealing with and offering support to people who have experienced hardship. However, support is available if you have a difficult day and you will not be expected to deal with things on your own.
What skills do I need?
Whilst organisations working to support homeless people welcome volunteers with specialist knowledge and skills, such as doctors, nurses and lawyers, they are also looking for volunteers with a real commitment to helping homeless people. It is important that you have the following qualities:
commitment to the aims of the organisation
They would also welcome volunteers with specialist knowledge of housing and benefits rights.
How much time should I be expected to give?
Approximately 2 to 4 hours each week.
How do I get involved?
There are a number of organisations working to support homeless people, some are large national organisations, whilst others a smaller local organisations.
Shelter Scotland is the national campaigning charity helping homeless and badly housed people. They offer a range of volunteering opportunities throughout the year. From street fundraising to research to DIY there are opportunities for everyone.
4th Floor, Scotiabank House
6 South Charlotte Street
tel: 0131 473 7170
Aberdeen Cyrenians is a voluntary organisation working to alleviate homelessness through the provision of accommodation and support services. They rely on volunteers to help deliver their services and will work with potential volunteers to identify suitable opportunities.
106 Crown Street
tel: 01224 572 877
The Ark Trust is an Edinburgh based organisation providing a number of services to homeless people. They run a resource centre, a café and community laundrette and a drop in centre for women affected by domestic abuse, among other services. They welcome people who are interested in volunteering and there are a number of opportunities in a variety of areas. Visit their website for more information about volunteering.
The Ark Trust
2 New Street
tel: 0131 557 1197
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