I was overwhelmed by the people who sacrificed their Christmas to volunteer
I first started volunteering for Crisis in 2001, in their London shelters during the Christmas periods.
In those days we were limited to the number of volunteers at hand, and sometimes had to double up on shifts to sustain the flow of visitors coming through the door for a hot meal and a festive experience. Since then, the number of volunteers has exploded, and the last time I was at a shelter I was overwhelmed by the numbers who had sacrificed their Christmases with family and friends for this great cause.
Crisis have not only done an amazing job in bringing comfort to homeless people, but have also promoted the charity to volunteers successfully.
Of all the time I was there and was given many jobs, from working in the kitchens, cleaning the outdoor facilities and handling the stalls, I realised how important the role of ‘time’ was to the visitors.
Time to sit with them and have a cup of tea with them, time to play a cards, time to paint a picture or even share a joke or two with them. Most of the visitors lead very lonely lives and being surrounded by people who wanted to give them time was priceless.
Since being selected to run as a parliamentary candidate for Rochdale, I have been looking at how the current council in the town are managing homelessness and how the provision and support services are running. The Rochdale homelessness strategy is due for review in 2016, which I hope to be a part of if elected this May.
My vision is to ensure we have a tight and secure process in place which enables each case to be acted upon in a timely manner to ensure accommodation is found for everyone in Rochdale.
If you are a prospective parliamentary candidate and would like to write a blog for Crisis please contact Helena Brice.