James is a Web Developer volunteer with our arts magazine, Homeless Diamonds. To celebrate our 50th Edition launched this summer, James shares his experience of volunteering with us and how the magazine has changed his perspective on homelessness.
I’ve been volunteering as a web developer for Homeless Diamonds, an arts magazine which features a compilation of writing and art by people associated with St Mungo’s, for the past 8 years. I started volunteering as I was looking for something to do, to use my skills and give a little bit back, so the role within Homeless Diamonds was perfect for me! I built the website that hosts the digital copies of the magazine. When I first started, I had a backlog of past issues to upload. Now I help out three times a year, when the magazine comes out. My role is to make sure the latest edition is up on the website, formatted correctly and all the content links to the contributors are included.
It’s fantastic being able to help, and although my contribution can feel small, it has a big impact in spreading the reach of Homeless Diamonds – and the wider the spread, the greater the impact! I always look forward to hearing when the latest edition is about to drop and feel privileged to get a sneak preview of the magazine before it’s printed.
Through my volunteering with Homeless Diamonds, I’ve learnt that homelessness isn’t just a point in time, it’s a journey. When you see someone homeless, it’s easy to think there’s a quick fix – put them in a house – however there’s often a whole range of things that have got them to that point. To that end, I think there’s a lot of blame the individuals get for this, which is unduly put at their door, when it is often not something that they can fix independently. That’s why how St Mungo’s intercepts this journey and supports people in their recovery is so important.
Homeless diamonds provides a lens on the thoughts and lives of St Mungo’s clients. The magazine gives a voice, which may be difficult to get out otherwise. I’d really encourage everyone to read even just a single edition as I know you will find it eye-opening. Check out the 50th edition here.