When people are living on our streets or are housed in temporary accommodation, one of the biggest problems they face is boredom and a lack of purpose in their days. Especially after the chaotic struggle of surviving on the streets. Our partner volunteer program is an important part of what we do at Barnabus to combat this and help our friends to learn new skills and grow in confidence.

Partner volunteers are people who have recently experienced homelessness or are still in temporary accommodation and are at a stage in their journey where they want to give back, develop their skills and build momentum to help them on their journey into a home.

To ease our friends into volunteering our program starts off with guests committing to an afternoon cleaning session once a week. We know that our friend’s lives are full of appointments with social workers, housing workers, Universal Credit and countless other services. Giving them the option to choose to come to us to volunteer gives them agency and control. It also helps boost their confidence as they know they are helping others who need Barnabus’ help.

When someone shows a real drive and commitment to develop further we provide training so they can volunteer in the kitchen or manage the shower cleaning or help with stock taking and re-filling.

Ryan really succeeded as a member of our partner volunteer program, he was referred to us from a supported accommodation provider. Ryan was no longer using drugs or alcohol and found himself in a positive space where he succeeded in his recovery and was looking forward to the future. As a way to build on his momentum and learn new skills he decided to volunteer with us in the Beacon.

Ryan had been a chef for many years in the past so naturally he quickly came to be volunteering in the kitchen during the morning support sessions, making breakfasts and toasties for our friends. During our Wednesday creative session we put on a full meal for our friends and Ryan really enjoyed being able to cook up some amazing meals for everyone. Not only was Ryan an excellent chef but he engaged really well with our friends, really listening to people's stories and wanting to help them by sharing some of his own experiences too. Ryan was a brilliant role model for our friends inspiring some of them to come and join the partner volunteering program themselves.

Amazingly Ryan wanted to continue working with people experiencing homelessness and his aim is to become a support worker in the future. We were delighted when he soon got a place on a Health and Social college course, but this sadly meant that he could no longer volunteer with us and continue cooking up delicious dishes. We are really pleased to see Ryan make such amazing progress and hope that his experiences volunteering with us help him in his future.

The Journey off the streets begins at our Support Centre please support our crowdfunder here