The Wallich is supported by a dedicated team of volunteers who share their time and expertise with us. For Volunteers Week, we spoke to members of our Residents and Service Users Volunteer Programme (RSVP), most of whom have experienced homelessness, to ask why they chose to give their time.
Since 2011, more than 400 of the people we support have signed up to RSVP, building their skills, knowledge and confidence in readiness to return to work, education or training.
Dee, who stayed at our Sir Julian Hodge hostel, said that she has always been an active person and wanted to do something meaningful with her free time. She now volunteers at the hostel and at our emergency nightshelter, both in Cardiff, cleaning the communal areas and making the properties feel homely. Dee said:
“I used to struggle when I met new people but since I started volunteering, my confidence has grown a lot. I’m used to talking to different people now and I don’t find it so daunting meeting new people”.
Dee’s partner Kevin also signed up to RSVP and Skills Scheme, a volunteer-run maintenance project at The Wallich. Kevin says he has learned new skills, such as painting and decorating, which he hopes will help him to find employment in the industry.
In Bridgend, Kerry began volunteering after The Wallich supported her and her family to stay in their home. Kerry said:
“I’m now volunteering three days a week with The Wallich and I enjoy every minute of it. I never, ever thought I would see me doing this but the support and help I’ve had from The Wallich saved me and my family, and I would really like to help people in similar circumstances”.
In 2014 alone, RSVP volunteers completed 5444 hours of volunteering – that’s around 226 days!
Jan Balsdon, Head of Community Partnerships, said:
“Volunteering gives our service users the opportunity to re-engage their talents, make new friends and find a valued place in their communities. For many of the people we support, volunteering is part of their journey back to work – we are very proud that just over 17% of our workforce are those that have been supported, volunteered and are now employed within The Wallich.
We are incredibly proud of all our volunteers, their positive contribution to our charity is immense. The added value that they bring, sharing time and skills, gives us the ability to deliver innovative and exciting programmes across Wales”.
Our residents and service users have incredible skills and talents to share with us all and The Wallich is always looking for ways to offer additional learning opportunities to those we support.
We work with individuals and businesses in the community on volunteering days and employee engagement projects.
If you have a skill to share and would like to work with our residents or support our RSVP scheme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.