There are many roles that our volunteers undertake for us; their contribution is absolutely vital to our ongoing success. Volunteer tasks include helping the manager to keep things running smoothly, providing friendly support to guests, cooking, using existing skills (or developing skills/knowledge) to help guests find work, sort out benefits, find housing, set up a new home etc.
Maybe you have been thinking about how you could give something back to society. Why not think about volunteering for The Bus Shelter MK?
Here are some of what our current volunteers say about us:
"We enjoyed shepherd's pie and bread and butter pudding, followed by guitar playing and singing..what a lovely bunch of guys we have on the bus. Looking forward to next time".
"I always go home feeling privileged to have shared time with them".
"I was touched by the way they all rallied around when a homeless man turned up looking for a blanket. They immediately invited him to dinner and made him feel welcomed, showing real concern for his welfare".
I'm a mother of a four year old, a hands-on busy business owner and a wife who has zero time. However, one thing I can do is cook! Just don't ask me where the time comes from..it turns up.
I was actually inspired by my Great Grandma. She was widowed, her four sons had gone to fight in WW1, and she was left to run a whole farm largely alone. Yet, amongst all of this, she still found the time and energy to cook supper for an orphaned family and walked it across the fields to deliver it to them every evening. There were no supermarkets, microwaves or ready-made jars of sauces. She made everything from scratch.
The truth is that cooking to help this cause is not a drain it's a pleasure - this is the way I think my great grandma might have felt too. It leaves me with a lovely feeling of connection in an otherwise distant world.
Initially I was drawn to volunteering with The Bus Shelter MK through my passion for those who - for whatever reason - find themselves homeless. I wasn't quite sure what to expect initially, but right from day one I absolutely loved it. It is about so much more than giving people a roof over their head! The whole ethos is to give dignity to those who are vulnerable, to show them respect, to encourage them and give them hope. All this in addition to giving them a safe place to live.
I look forward to my weekly volunteer evening as the guys are always great company. We talk about their week, their hopes, and their gripes and always have a really good laugh. I feel privileged to spend time with them and always leave feeling valued and appreciated. They are also fiercely loyal and protective towards the volunteers, and it's just like one big family really. I have to admit, though, I do miss them when they move on, but it's so rewarding to feel that I played a small part in their journey to normality again.
I started at The Bus Shelter MK just after it opened and what kept me volunteering was the guests. Although guests are constantly changing as people move into housing, it's always an interesting mix of personalities. I look forward to my shifts and always leave having learned something new; occasionally a recipe, usually a bad joke but sometimes something more meaningful.
When I started volunteering I thought I had an idea of what homelessness was like. The Bus Shelter MK has changed that view. The guests' backgrounds, skill sets and outlooks all vary and it's a pleasure to play a small part in their journeys.
There are around 50 regular volunteers currently and it's great to see the group mobilise when guests have a particular need, but more importantly, we support each other. The Bus Shelter Manager and Trustees are super approachable which is vital should any issues arise.
All in all it's a sometimes challenging but always positive experience that I feel lucky to be a part of.