Thanks to our award-winning volunteers

Iver Morgan, our Head of Volunteering, Apprenticeships and Placements, thanks our amazing and dedicated volunteers as Volunteers’ Week 2018 comes to a close.

On Monday I had the great pleasure of hosting our annual Volunteering Awards celebration in Southwark.

This is a wonderful occasion when we get to say thank you and present awards to some of our outstanding volunteers who’ve supported our clients and our work over the past 12 months – and in many cases, much longer. Once again, we held this at the Table Café, who generously support us in many ways throughout the year.

One award recipient was Jen Burnham, who’s helped us publish our Homeless Diamonds magazine for 20 years. I encourage you to read her blog about how she got started and what she enjoys about it – a great read.

I’d also like to thank the Marsh Christian Trust, who enabled us to present these awards for the last four years. We very much appreciate their support.

Over an average year around 900 people volunteer with us. They provide support to outreach services, helping people sleeping rough, run activity groups and offer information and advice. This makes it very difficult to pick out individuals.

However, alongside Jen, we thought this year that awards should go to Mohammed, Adil, Tee, Juliet and Rebecca.

Volunteers of the Year went to Mohammed and Adil. They volunteer with the Horn of Africa Health and Wellbeing Project in London, which was set up in 2013 to respond to the needs of individuals from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan who had been affected by homelessness. The project is funded by Big Lottery Fund, through the Reaching Communities funding stream, and provides advice on entitlements, access to physical and mental health services, work and learning opportunities, community activities and support to overcome isolation. Mohammed and Adil had both previously approached the project for support when they found themselves homeless as a result of being recognised as a refugee and wanted to give something back. This is a fantastic achievement.

Outstanding Achievement (London) went to Tee. She is a volunteer with the Women’s Group of our client body, Outside In, and facilitates creative and therapeutic sessions each month with women across St Mungo’s services. She is also a Client Advisory Board Member and meets with the Board of Trustees every six weeks to work on the strategic aims of the organisation and ensure the client voice is heard at the top level of governance. Tee draws on her own experiences and uses this as her motivation. Tee spoke in Parliament recently on behalf of St Mungo’s at an event led by SafeLives, a charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse.

We were also pleased to recognise volunteers who work with us in the South West of England.

Volunteer of the Year (South West) is Juliet. She volunteers with the Bristol Assertive Contact and Engagement (ACE) service, where she is an invaluable asset to the service, thanks to her unwavering commitment, enthusiasm and energy. She volunteers with the Women’s Morning wellbeing support group, the Breathing Space group, which provides mental health support for single parents in Knowle West and the LGBTQ+ group, One World. The team says “she goes above and beyond what is expected of her by stepping in and helping whenever she is needed”.

Outstanding Achievement (South West) went to Rebecca. She now volunteers as a Peer Mentor at Mulberry House and Mews in Bath but since completing Peer Mentor training, she has offered a different form of arts or crafts each week. This has engaged clients and enabled them to try a range of new things. She is now able to offer one-to-one support to clients both at Mulberry and in the local community.

Volunteers are an integral part of St Mungo’s and we recognise and value the huge contribution they make. In return, we aim to offer a rewarding experience by providing opportunities to make a significant contribution to help end homelessness, to develop skills in a supportive environment, access training and meet like-minded people.

If you’ve been inspired, please do take a look at our Volunteering opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you.