Lisa's story: “It’s the most rewarding and valuable work you can do”
“I really feel part of something – both from being united by a cause that matters and from sharing a feeling of care, respect and empathy for those around us.
"Obviously due to the nature of the work we do, it can be difficult at times. There are people facing real struggles in their lives and you wish you could personally do more for them – this is just not always possible.
"But to be part of an organisation that offers help to those who are homeless, or facing homelessness, who may otherwise have few options, is what makes it all worthwhile.
"It’s the most rewarding and valuable work you can do. Every day volunteering I learn something new, about myself and other people.
"It has been eye-opening and, at times, awe-inspiring seeing the strength people find within themselves to overcome adversity. I am always meeting new people from the community, both other volunteers and guests, who I may not otherwise have had the chance to meet; but they are some of the best and most interesting people I have ever met.”
Clive's story: “It’s humbling to realise how incredibly fortunate most of us are”
“My favourite time when volunteering [at the Winter Night Shelter] is seeing the guests settle down to play a game, have a chat, read or just relax after a hot meal on a night with really horrible weather outside.
"It’s so satisfying when you think of what limited options would be available if the shelter wasn’t there. You can easily pass by a homeless person on the street without knowing it, but after helping out at the shelter, you’ll be aware of the number of people who are trying to just survive out there.
"It’s humbling to realise how incredibly fortunate most of us are to have a warm, safe place to which we can go. Giving that up for a shift at the shelter to help our guests share a little of that warmth and security is so very rewarding.”
Erica's story: “After every volunteering session I have a sense of time well spent”
Erica retired from a busy management role in London and wanted to make a difference in her home town. She helps in our Support Centre and also speaks at groups, in schools and at churches, and by staffing stands at fundraising events.
She said “After every volunteering session I have a sense of time well spent. The value of the night shelter is self-evident, but the value of the year-round drop-ins is just as great. As a Christian I want to help those less fortunate than myself in a practical way. Volunteering is a fulfilling and enjoyable way to do this”.
Mike's story: “We’ll get it sorted in a year or two...”
Mike had time on his hands. Newly retired, he heard about the local homelessness situation through his church, and wanted to help tackle it. So he signed up to help at the night shelter – and he’s still doing breakfasts years later!
He's also joined the Support Centre team welcoming guests who need to see a Support Worker. And now has been trained to offer advice to guests himself.
And if that wasn't enough he also has taken on a role helping sort and organise donations of clothes and household items.
He said “I volunteer because I want to make a difference, and I enjoy helping Wycombe Homeless Connection to be more effective.”
Hannah's story: “I’ve been impressed by the friendliness, passion and professionalism of the staff”
Hannah joined us as a Volunteer Promotional Writer and was thrilled to help raise awareness of homelessness in our community by working with staff to create leaflets and newsletters.
With a background in publishing and journalism, she was eager to keep her writing skills sharp, while also hoping to become more involved in the High Wycombe community after moving to the area.
She said “Since I started volunteering I’ve been impressed by the friendliness of the staff and by the passion and professionalism with which they work on behalf of those in need.”