volunteer with homeless

Charity Hot Seat Interview with Acton Homeless Concern

Lucy Hayim | 8 December 15

Interview with Ian Breen from Acton Homeless Concern

1. Acton Homeless Concern, What is your mission?

Quite simply, we exist to provide advice and support to homeless and needy people, who need shelter and hope.

2. How does Benefacto help Acton Homeless Concern achieve these aims?

Benefacto’s volunteers provide valuable, helping out mainly in the kitchen, where we provide hot meals to London’s homeless. Volunteers also help out with the everyday running of the centre.

3. Benefacto provides you with corporate volunteers; if you had one request from the corporate world, what would it be?

I’d like to see more understanding and awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness, who it affects and why. I think that would lead to greater engagement with homeless issues from those in the corporate world.

4. Have short-employee volunteers worked well for Acton Homeless Concern?

Yes, very well. Short-term volunteers fill in the spaces when we’re short of staff, which is really valuable. We’re always looking for volunteers that can spare a few hours to help with the day-to-day running of the centre; it allows us to provide our services.

5. What type of things have you got employee volunteers doing?

All sorts of stuff – employee volunteers help out at the doctor’s reception, support the catering staff, help run the café and sort and distribute clothing.

6. What skills do you think professional volunteers bring to Acton Homeless Concern?

I can think of a couple of examples actually. One time I was having trouble filling out my census and a volunteer helped me sort it out and input the data. On another occasion, a volunteer who was well-versed in health and safety regulations gave some really useful advice and pointed out that the centre needed hand rails, which we now have.

7.  What do you think volunteers get out of volunteering with Acton Homeless Concern?

They get a real insight into homelessness. There’s a big taboo surrounding homelessness, but once volunteers meet people at Acton Homeless concern and learn where they come from, they start to understand the individuals and their needs. I think they come away with a new insight and understanding of the causes and issues surrounding homelessness.

 

*In the run up to Christmas, Acton Homeless Concern are in need of sleeping bags, washing powder, mens shoes and toiletries to help provide London’s homeless with some comfort from the cold. If you’re keen to donate, please e-mail hello@benefacto.org

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Lucy looks after all of the amazing charities that Benefacto partners with in London. She also makes sure each and every volunteer is matched to a rewarding charity opportunity where their skills can have a real impact. If you're a charity who'd like to find out more about working with Benefacto and our fantastic volunteers contact her at hello@benefacto.org