Faith in Action volunteer Nicky Ellis spoke passionately at our recent Open Evening about why volunteering at the Drop-in means so much to her.
To an appreciative audience that included the Mayor of Merton and her Consort, Merton borough councillors and other Drop-in supporters and donors, Nicky explained how she came to join the FiA team.
“A brief search on the internet brought me to the Drop-in. I always stop to chat (a talent of mine) to the homeless – I can do that – no worries!
“How naïve I was, how unprepared I was in every way for meeting this ever-increasing section of our community, and those who work tirelessly against all odds to help them. It has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my life.”
Among a myriad of everyday tasks at the Drop-in, Nicky said that she had had some fascinating experiences and insights, including:
- gaining an understanding of the Universal Credit Scheme including how to process an application, how frustrating it is to use, or to get answers and resolutions quickly .
- helping volunteer Paul with his English classes.
- using her legal knowledge on several occasions to help service users – in both criminal and civil cases.
- attending a course on the Alcohol Addiction Services available in Merton and being impressed with what is available when funds are so limited, but equally saddened by how difficult it is to tackle such addiction and to stay sober with the added complication of being homeless
- helping service users find accommodation either on a permanent or temporary basis – this has enabled her to become familiar with other organisations within the borough and further afield that can offer help.
Nicky ended her moving speech by saying:
“Perhaps the most important thing I have got out of being a volunteer is being so heartened by the small acts of kindness that every volunteer here shows to each service user.
“It is an overwhelming kindness that permeates the Drop-in and all that it does – it restores my faith in humankind, and I have made some lovely new friends.”