“I am now the proud owner of an Edwardian mahogany desk I’d had my eye on for several weeks here in Crisis’s Islington shop. Then there was a sale and I thought OK now’s my chance!”
Bagging a bargain is just one thing east Londoner Adam, 41, a creative and communications director and published author, enjoys about volunteering for Crisis.
“I’m in the Islington shop for four hours on Saturdays,” he says. “Meeting customers, working with fellow volunteers and the staff, it’s all rewarding. I think it’s also very good for mental wellbeing if you’re working from home predominantly – being out on a Saturday afternoon and getting involved.
“I really enjoy being on the till – you get to meet people and interact. But it’s a bit of everything – I sort items, help with Gift Aid, whatever’s required.
“I’ve always walked up and down the street past the shop on my way to work and looked in the window. Then Ollie, the manager, suggested I volunteer – we’ve been friends for a long time. But I quickly got to know other people. It’s great.
“There’s a whole plethora of online courses you do when you start – a roundup of everything you need to know. And there’s always support; everyone is helpful.
“I was Pride in London parade manager for five years, and I’ve been able to use my organisational skills here in the shop. ‘External stakeholder engagement’ are three big words, but I guess I’m also using those skills talking to people.
“Meanwhile, I’ve learnt from Ollie how to design stores and put things on display, and I’m a doddle on the till now!
“You’re made to feel very welcome: I pop in on the way home from work. You’re doing good work with good people and making a difference.
“Crisis is a significant charity for me – with its mission to end homelessness so that it wouldn’t need to exist. My volunteering within the LGBT+ community is something that’s close to my heart as well – people from the LGBT+ community are statistically way more at risk of homelessness than a heterosexual person – there have been some horrific stories.
“Being a Londoner born and bred I’ve always seen homelessness around me. So, I think government and decision makers need to take note and ensure it is at the top of their agenda, everywhere.
“As a Crisis volunteer, I can hopefully help raise enough funds to ensure the charity can support those who are experiencing homelessness.
“So, don’t hesitate – sign on the dotted line, and get involved. Whatever walk of life or community you’re from, you’re very welcome. You’ll be part of a collective team doing good work. Make it your mantra.”
By sharing stories we can change attitudes and build a movement for permanent, positive change. Stand against homelessness and help us end it for good.