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“The best thing about volunteering for HARP? Smiling again!”

Sharyn started volunteering in the kitchen at the Bradbury Centre after taking time out from a stressful 25 year career in the city, which she was juggling with single parenthood. Sharyn helps to provide a hot breakfast to people currently sleeping rough, including cooking, serving, making hot drinks, clearing up and providing a warm welcome and a friendly ear. Sharyn told us more…

“I suffer from anxiety, which was beginning to affect day to day life more and more, so I needed some time out but wanted to do something useful and give back at the same time. I was aware of the work HARP did with homeless people and was keen to be part of it.

“Volunteering has been life changing on so many levels. I’ve met so many wonderful people and thoroughly enjoy my time with them. It’s about more than giving back.

“The people I’ve met have made my life better and I hope I make a small difference to theirs every morning. I’ve met people from all walks of life and work alongside some great volunteers who also have their own story and reasons for committing their time.”

When we asked Sharyn what’s the best thing about volunteering for HARP, she said: “Smiling again! I’ve gained more than I can put into words. I’ve rediscovered who I am outside of the corporate bubble and re-evaluated my priorities in life. I also have a bigger appreciation of the support system around me such as family and friends, as I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Sharyn will be going back into paid work at some point and will continue to volunteer until she finds a job in her industry. She’s already in talks with the HARP team about volunteering on a Saturday morning when she starts a new job.

“I believe everyone deserves respect, and everyone has a story,” she told us. “It’s important for people to understand that homelessness isn’t a choice, and that the many stereotypes just aren’t true. I’ve met young people that didn’t stand a chance in life, many people with mental health issues, and those who had a few bad turns of luck but didn’t have the support system in place that so many of us have. I think it’s really important to change people’s perception of homeless people.”

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