Simon volunteers at HARP’s supported accommodation for people with complex needs, cooking and helping with admin tasks such as ordering the food delivery. He still lives with HARP and is on the waiting list for a local housing association. Simon shares why he loves to volunteer:
“Volunteering is good for me because it keeps me active and keeps my brain going. I enjoy the interaction with people and love doing the training courses HARP offers me. It feels really good to give someone a really nice meal and see how happy it makes them.”
HARP’s complex needs accommodation allows those of our residents with additional needs such as addiction or mental illness to get the additional support they need to overcome those challenges. Simon’s lived experience makes him a particular asset to the team.
“A lot of the residents are in addiction and I am a recovering alcoholic, so they know they can sit down and talk to me on a level playing field. And I know that they understand too. It might sound selfish to say it’s good for me but hopefully the by-product is that I might also help someone else.”
Volunteering for HARP means a lot to Simon: “Had it not been for HARP, I wouldn’t be here now. I’m in the best place I’ve been for years.”
“My hope is that once I’ve moved into my own place I can then work for HARP. My previous career gave me no job satisfaction but here there’s the possibility of helping someone.”
Simon highly recommends volunteering for HARP. “Even if you can only do two hours a week, it will make you feel good just to know that you’re giving something to someone who hasn’t got anything, even if that’s just a cup of tea, a biscuit and a smiling face. For someone who has been out all night, freezing cold and scared, it’s everything.”
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