Dave* is a client at a St Mungo’s hostel. He was helped by outreach workers after an alert from StreetLink.
StreetLink community interviews
We will be speaking to and featuring different members of the StreetLink community to find out a bit about them, and how and why they got involved with StreetLink. Get to know our first interviewee here.
Liam (pictured above) is a StreetLink volunteer and former rough sleeper. Here he reveals his most memorable volunteering moment and tells us about a ‘typical’ shift with the team.
"My name is Liam. I’m 26 and have been sleeping rough on and off since I was 16. I left home at 15 and live with my two best friends – depression and anxiety. Since 2016 I have been supported by St Mungo’s services and hostels. I am one of those who strives to do better and has a passion for helping others – if I can make one person smile or their day better, then I am happy.”
Why did you decide to volunteer for StreetLink?
“I decided to volunteer after StreetLink’s volunteer co-ordinator – Ffi – spoke at a St Mungo’s client involvement surgery I was at. She was so passionate about StreetLink, and I felt ‘well services have literally saved my life, how can I give back?’ So I applied and I haven’t looked back since.”
What might you do in a ‘typical’ volunteer shift?
“In a typical shift, I work my way through alerts and ensure that the correct information is sent to the outreach teams so they have the best chance of finding someone who is sleeping rough. I am also now building my skills such as handling emails that come through, and my phone skills so I can engage the public in homelessness and communicate the complexities of rough sleeping over the phone.”
What’s been your most memorable moment?
"There have been two, the first being during the freezing weather (in February). I volunteered for 3 days in a row and it was so heart-warming to see that at our busiest ever time, people from different teams came together to help out alongside volunteers (many of whom didn’t even have a break, the dedication and passion was truly overwhelming).
“The second was when I gave a member of the public information about a day centre and they emailed back saying they had given the rough sleeper that information and he had gone there. It made my week knowing I had helped someone.”
What advice would you give to those thinking about becoming a volunteer?
"I really enjoy being part of something special, knowing that I – who have been homeless on and off for many years – am now part of a passionate group of people helping to stop rough sleeping. The advice I would give to anyone thinking of volunteering is ‘go for it, do it – the experience alone is worth it.’ Do ask questions if you’re unsure about something – it really is okay. It’s one of the greatest feel-good factors, volunteering for something that you are passionate about.”
Join the StreetLink community
To become part of the StreetLink community and have the option to sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter, including blogs and community interviews, visit streetlink.org.uk and click 'Take action now'.
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Helen is the communications manager at Homeless Link. Helen is currently covering Louise Weaver's maternity leave.
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