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"I just love volunteering!"

Karina loves volunteering for HARP Southend

Karina has been cooking breakfast and lunch at our complex needs accommodation once a week for nearly two years. We caught up with her to find out just why she loves it so much.

“I originally began volunteering after being made redundant to gain more experience working with service users while I looked for another job. Now I can’t imagine not doing it!

“I love walking in on a Monday and hearing ‘Yes… Karina’s cooking!’ but that might be because I make puddings. Knowing I’m valued makes me feel like I’m giving something back while people are on the way to becoming independent.”

Karina said that she’d always wanted to work for a charity. Even so, volunteering for HARP really opened her eyes:

“I realised that anyone could become homeless at any time and we’re all vulnerable. After volunteering here, I believe most of us are only three steps – or pay cheques – away from becoming homeless. I was lucky because when I got made redundant I had no kids at home and my husband had an income, otherwise it could have been a very different story.”

When we asked why she loved volunteering for HARP, Karina told us: “I think what HARP does is amazing! When someone first comes here they can be really down but you see them become more independent and then move on to their own place. Sometimes they’ll even pop back in to say hello.”

Karina also helps out at events and fundraising collections, enjoying the chance to raise awareness.

“It’s nice to be able to help people understand there’s more to homelessness than drugs, alcohol and people begging on the street.”

If you’re considering volunteering, Karina says: “Go for it! I get up on a Monday and I think ‘I’m going to HARP’ and I love it. I just love volunteering!”

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