After retiring from his full-time job, Peter was looking for a volunteer role that would give him the opportunity to help others in his local community. After doing some research into how he could support people experiencing homelessness, Peter came across Connection Support through the Oxfordshire Homeless Movement.
In February 2021, Peter joined our Outreach Volunteer team in Oxford, offering a few hours a week to locate, register and verify individuals sleeping rough across the county. By going out in the early hours to identify people sleeping rough, Peter is able to have meaningful conversations with people and help them to start accessing support.
This experience has given Peter the opportunity to talk to a diverse range of people, learn about their lives and understand their various different circumstances. It helped him to appreciate the scale of homelessness here in the UK, whilst developing a deeper understanding of the reasons why it effects so many people. It framed homelessness differently, highlighting how addiction, prison release, family breakdowns and low mental health are often triggers; issues that none of us are exempt from.
Whilst he acknowledges that he can’t help everyone, for Peter, volunteering is rewarding, enjoyable, and is something he’d recommend. When asked what he enjoys most about volunteering, he said:
“The sense of worth and giving something back to people who find themselves in bad situations. Many rough sleepers are genuinely thankful when we locate them, register and verify them, and sometimes just thankful to talk to a kind voice. The outreach role fits well with my weekly activities – going out at 6.30am leaves the rest of my day open!”
Connection Support is particularly looking for more volunteers to help with early morning outreach in Witney and Aylesbury. Could you help, or do you know someone who might be interested?
For more information, visit our website here: https://www.connectionsupport.org.uk/volunteer/