Leading Homelessness charity St Mungo’s has been named volunteer ‘Organisation of the year’ by a top London university, after one of it volunteers penned an emotive nomination about her experiences helping out during the pandemic.
The charity scooped the accolade at the University College London (UCL) Student Union’s annual Volunteering Awards during an online event on Tuesday 8 June.
St Mungo’s was nominated by UCL postgraduate student, Daisy Haynes, a registered nurse who is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Global Health and Development, who started volunteering with the charity during the pandemic.
She worked with the Events, Community and Regional team for six months following the Covid-19 outbreak, and following her positive experience penned a moving nomination which secured the award.
Daisy said: “Nominating St Mungo’s for ‘Organisation of the Year’ was a brilliant opportunity to show my appreciation for all their efforts in facilitating an invaluable volunteer experience within fundraising, and to celebrate the magnificent Events, Community and Regional team. I’m so proud and delighted they won!”
She said it was her career in nursing which inspired her to begin volunteering with St Mungo’s in the first place as working on the Covid-19 front line exposed her to “the devastating effects of a frightening and isolating pandemic”.
This experience lead her to St Mungo’s where she felt she could make a difference and better the lives of vulnerable people experiencing homelessness and seclusion on a daily basis.
Jay Hunt, Head of Fundraising at St Mungo’s expressed his gratitude for Daisy’s hard work during her time with the team. He said: “We are thrilled to have inspired Daisy to nominate St Mungo’s for this award.
“I know the Events, Community and Regional team will agree with me that Daisy was very hard-working and a real pleasure to have on board.
“She showed a lot of initiative and went above and beyond with each task we assigned her. She was also incredibly busy with her studies and we were in awe at how much she managed to fit in, and not to mention her selflessness and desire to help.”
Iver Morgan, Head of Volunteering, Apprenticeships and Placements at St Mungo’s also voiced his appreciation. He said: “We are delighted to have been nominated for and to have won this award and it’s fantastic recognition for the way we involve and support our volunteers.
“Our volunteers work across the organisation and are making a difference to the lives of the people we work with every day. During the pandemic, a time of crisis, the role of volunteers became ever more critical and whatever their role, volunteers helped us save lives and ensured we had the time and resources to support our clients away from homelessness and to rebuild their lives.”
Talking about why this year’s judges were so impressed with Daisy’s submission, a UCL spokesperson said: “Volunteer Daisy Haynes wrote a lovely nomination expressing her gratitude towards St Mungo’s, notably the Events, Community and Regional Team.
“The judges were particularly impressed with how Daisy received development opportunities in the role and thought St Mungo’s really went above and beyond in order to provide Daisy with such a well-rounded and mutually-beneficial volunteering experience.
“It was a unanimous decision from the judging panel to have St Mungo’s as our Organisation of the Year and they are a very well-deserving winner.”
As well as the title, St Mungo’s also received gift vouchers which will be used to help in its work tackling homelessness.
The UCL volunteering awards have been running for 19 years, and are hosted to recognise and celebrate the achievements and commitments of UCL volunteers in the community.
The university works with more than 400 community organisations and St Mungo’s is one of a 100 of those have hosted UCL students this year.
You can read Daisy’s full submission below:
How has your chosen organisation provided exciting and rewarding volunteering opportunities?
St Mungo’s offer such an array of volunteering opportunities, wonderfully advertised, and the ability to meaningfully contribute to improving the lives of people experiencing homelessness across the London, the South West and the South East. My nomination is aimed more specifically at St Mungo’s’ Events, Community and Regional team. The team have worked exceptionally hard to devise a volunteering programme tailored to areas of need but equally matched to the volunteer themselves, not just in terms of the volunteer’s expertise but also their passion and interests, allowing both parties to benefit from the rewarding experience.
How have they enabled you to contribute your own ideas and creativity?
The Events, Community and Regional team invite the volunteer(s) to participate in a weekly team meeting and will also ask for contribution to a wider fundraising partnerships meeting. You are assigned your own portfolio of tasks and given the necessary information, tools and free reign. It’s such a great learning experience, the constructive feedback and support is second-to-none. I love writing and communicating. It was great to be entrusted with responding to fundraiser emails, gaining confidence with stakeholder engagement and exploring ways to be creative in my responses.
How have they provided excellent support, supervision and personal development opportunities?
On my very first day as a volunteer, the Events Coordinator, Will Potter, took time to understand my motivation for volunteering and the learning I wished to gain from the experience. The Events, Community and Regional team organised induction days with different St Mungo’s sectors tailored to that initial conversation. Each department offered teaching and presentations, giving fantastic insight into their role. The team provided in-depth training, particularly with software they felt would benefit a future career in fundraising, fundraising databases for example. A member of the team was always on hand to answer questions and provide honest, genuine support. Will was brilliant, calling every Friday to debrief on the week and simply to ensure I was coping, appreciating the (sometimes quite large) struggle of juggling postgraduate study and volunteering. Having enjoyed my initial three months quite so much, St Mungo’s were kind enough to allow an extension of my volunteering for a further three months – encouraging increased responsibility and a further assortment of interesting, important tasks remaining committed to ensuring my own personal development.
Any further comments?
After volunteering for six months (or over), you’re invited to a Volunteer Advisory Board panel and encouraged to participate in regular meetings (and email exchanges) to ensure the volunteering experience at St Mungo’s is the best it can be! It really demonstrates dedication to volunteers, and the respect and regard they hold for their volunteers too.
I can’t thank the Events, Community and Regional team, and St Mungo’s, for making volunteering such a lovely, beneficial and all round wonderful experience. The team have been so kind and patient in sharing their time and wisdom. I’ve always felt supported, appreciated and valued. I’m truly grateful to have had this insight into your unbelievably hard and important roles. I have come away gaining and learning more than I ever anticipated or dreamt, and I can’t wait to return and develop further. I have been welcomed with such warm and friendly arms in to the Events, Community and Regional team. It is a true privilege.
To find out about and to apply to St Mungo’s current volunteering opportunities, visit https://www.mungos.org/get-involved/volunteer/.