For Volunteers Week last year, Stuart wrote a blog about his experience of volunteering and how it helped him after a period of sleeping rough. Stuart now works as a receptionist, supporting other volunteers on their journey.
“When I look back to where I came from, it makes me proud to see what I have achieved. I have now been working at The Wallich for 12 months and I’ve re-located to Cardiff where I have my own flat. I wouldn’t have come this far if it hadn’t been for volunteering – or at least that it would have taken me a lot longer to get here.
The best thing about volunteering is the self-belief it gives you. When I was volunteering with The Wallich I felt like part of a team – I wasn’t ‘just a volunteer’, I was really getting involved and helping the team to achieve things. I regained confidence I thought I had lost and by volunteering across different areas of work, I picked up new skills along the way.
Volunteering gave me a broader outlook. I never thought I would want to be a Support Worker but when I began to see all the different aspects of the job, I became really interested. It’s much more in-depth than I gave it credit for and it has a real, positive impact on people’s lives.
I still work as the receptionist for The Wallich but my job role has now expanded and I’m currently coaching other volunteers too. I’m using my experience to guide them, helping them to develop new skills and gain confidence in the same way that helped me when I was volunteering. I’m finding it really rewarding!
Now that I’m settled in work and at home, I’m hoping to return to volunteering with the Rough Sleepers team at The Wallich. There’s always more to learn and volunteering is a great way to do it.”