Tag Archives: Volunteering

Let’s Pedal for Scotland!

Join Team Simon Community for a great day out!

This year Simon Community Scotland are participating in this fabulous event. We’d love you to join us! Read on for more details.

What is it?

A cycle ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh. It’s not a race. We’ll be doing it as a team – it should be a great day out together!

When?

Sunday, 10th September 2017

Who can enter?

  • Anyone who has access to a bicycle and is up for the 45 mile cycle.
  • Team Simon Community is open to service users, staff and anyone who’d like to join us!
  • Standard places cost £38 + £20 for transport (for you and your bike) back to Glasgow at the end of the day.
  • There are free places for people who use our services and staff supporting their participation.

How to register

  • Free places: contact Linda Clark at hello@SimonScotland.org
  • Standard Places: register directly with Pedal for Scotland http://pedalforscotland.org/ and select to join “Team Simon Community” (part of the Classic Challenge Gold). More details about registering below.

Why we’re joining Scotland’s biggest bike event!

Cycling is fun and has plenty other benefits! Over the past few years we’ve been encouraging staff and services users to ‘get into cycling’.

We have a number of initiatives to support the wellbeing of our staff and service users including: the build-a-bike scheme, getting bikes in all our services and various cycle-training days. These are some of the practical ways we can support the recovery of people affected by homelessness.

Please join us on the 10th September to celebrate and build on this great work!

Join Team Simon Community and enjoy the buzz and support of participating in the ‘Pedal for Scotland’ event

  • It is a great personal challenge and opportunity for us as individuals.
  • It’s also an opportunity to help to raise the profile of the Simon Community and the important work we do in supporting people who’ve experienced tough times.
  • Some participants may even want to use this event as an opportunity to raise money for our Nightstop Service. (If you’d like to do this, please contact us for more information)

What people have said about the event

“For those who cycle regularly, or for those who just fancy a fun challenge, you can’t do better than riding your bike between Glasgow and Edinburgh with amazing cake stops along the way!”

– JENNIE COOK, DES AND JENNIE SHOW PRESENTER, CAPITAL FM

“I really look forward to Pedal for Scotland each year and taking on the Classic Challenge ride so I can spend the day chatting to people and enjoying the great atmosphere……. Pedal for Scotland is a wonderful, sociable day on the bike for me.”

– MARK BEAUMONT, ROUND THE WORLD CYCLIST

“It was Pedal for Scotland that inspired me to start cycling. I’ve been doing Pedal for Scotland since 2009, when I hadn’t been on a bike for over 18 years and I thought ‘I can do that!’ So I bought a bike and started cycling again. My best memory is crossing the line for the first time in 2009, it was a great feeling and accomplishment on what I set out to do. I really enjoyed every mile.”

– ARFAN MOHAMMED

More stories here: http://pedalforscotland.org/testimonials/

Got any questions?

Contact Linda Clark (our Organising Guru) hello@SimonScotland.org. If you’re keen and committed – go ahead and register using the details below.

Book your place today

  • Standard places are booked via the Pedal for Scotland website, selecting “Team Simon Community” within the Classic Challenge Gold. See details below.
  • Free places – available for people who use Simon Community services and supporting staff – can be booked by contacting Linda Clark. Email: hello@SimonScotland.org for details.

Booking a standard team place:

  • Go to: http://pedalforscotland.org/
  • Choose ‘book now’ for the Classic Challenge Gold.
  • Register as a ‘Gold Challenge Team Entrant’ (£38), fill in your details and join the “Team Simon Community”.
  • You’ll need to provide details of an “emergency contact” (e.g. a friend or family member, colleague etc).
  • Our team will be leaving in the 8 – 8.30am ‘wave’. Team Simon Community will be meeting at our Head Office (472 Ballater Street, Glasgow G5 0QW) at 7am. At around 7.30am we will go across to the start line on Glasgow Green – so that we can all start the ride together.
  • Select the £20 extra for transport (for you and your bike) back to Glasgow.
  • We will be providing all Team Simon Community with a Team T-shirt for the event, this is in addition to the T Shirt Pedal for Scotland will send you.
  • You can also use this event as an opportunity to fundraise for the Simon Community. Contact Linda Clark (hello@SimonScotland.org) if you’d like more details about this.

Simon Community Says Thanks to Rangers After £17,000 Donation to Help Glasgow’s Homeless

THE Rangers Charity Foundation have handed over more than £17,000 to the Simon Community to help Glasgow’s homeless.

 

Light Blues fans took part in ‘Big Sleep Out’ events at Ibrox in November to raise cash that was split between the Foundation, the Simon Community and the Glasgow City Mission.

The funds will be put towards the ‘Nightstop’ project, which targets 16 to 25-year-olds who are in danger of sleeping rough and offers the support this vulnerable group needs to move forward in a positive direction.

Glasgow has the highest concentration of young people who are homeless in Scotland and Simon Community Chief Executive Lorraine McGrath is delighted to be in partnership with the Gers.

She said: “It means a huge amount to us to have the backing of the Rangers Charity Foundation and it gives us an opportunity we ordinarily wouldn’t have to reach out to people.

“It is a 365 day of the year challenge. January can be a tough month because people will be coming out of the Christmas period and the goodwill can run out in January. Quite often it is this month that we see a spike in numbers.

“Extra funding is always great but awareness is even better and we want people to understand what homelessness is and how it affects people.

“It is not just rough sleeping. It is people in temporary accommodation, people in unsafe and insecure situations and there are tens of thousands of them across Scotland.

“The reasons that people fall into homelessness are very complex and varied and it is about getting people to understand that and to know how and when to seek help.

“The biggest reason is relationship breakdown and then come all the complexities with that, including addiction issues and the challenges that they face.

“It is very traumatic and it really harms your health. The average age of someone who is homeless is 44 and we need to do all we can to help people.”

Striker Kenny Miller joined volunteers on Monday to meet a handful of the 2000 people that the charity supports each year.

The 37-year-old spent time posing for photographs and answering questions and was happy to help raise awareness.

He said: “The Rangers Charity Foundation do some great work with a number of worthy causes and have a number of partnerships.

“The ‘Big Sleep Outs’ are a big earner in terms of the fundraising. I have been at one and it was a cold night so all credit to the fans that braved the conditions.

“It is always nice to come along and help the Charity Foundation when I can, particularly for a really good cause like this.

“It is great to come along and help, meet people and recognise the work that the charity and the Foundation are doing.

“There are some great people doing some really important work and I am always happy to do my bit.”

Begging in Glasgow

To give or not to give? That is the question.

Over the last two years many Cities in Scotland have experienced an increase in begging with a number of Councils wishing to make begging illegal in their city. Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow have all raised concerns. Begging is not illegal unless it is aggressive and then the Police can act upon those behaviours.

On an average day in Glasgow there are between 60 and 80 people begging on the streets. Our Street Team connect with people who are begging on  daily basis with about 15 to 25 known to be rough sleeping (numbers frequently vary). The majority of the people begging in the city have accommodation and of the many people we support across our services very few people ever resort to begging.

The question about whether or not to give money to people begging is a personal choice. Some argue that giving money can be disabling and harmful to people, even causing their death. For others it’s about recognising and responding to a desperate situation that people in our community find themselves in.

Against

Some homeless charities estimate as much as 80% of the people begging use the money to buy drugs or alcohol. The use of drugs and alcohol have a huge impact on people’s health and giving money to beggars may do more harm than good and can actually cause their death. Our experience in Glasgow suggests that three quarters of the indigenous population that are begging are funding an alcohol or drug addiction.

Some homeless charities have long experience and evidence of the harm that alcohol and drugs causes and see people giving money as a cause of this. People who sleep rough don’t live long and have an average life expectancy of 47. Drugs and alcohol plays its part in reducing people’s lives.

Not all beggars are homeless and not all homeless people beg. In Glasgow we estimate less than 30% of beggars don’t have accommodation.

People can spend a large amount of time begging on the street which may mean they spend less time engaging in support and connecting with homelessness staff. There are a number of services in Glasgow that provide shelter, food, clothing and support. None provide alcohol or drugs.

Some begging in Glasgow is organised and some of the people begging may be doing so under coercion.

In the last year our Street Team has come across people without shoes or jackets begging in some pretty awful weather. We have supplied good winter boots and warm jackets only to find the person without these items when we return. For some begging without shoes and coats may generate greater donations.

Some argue that begging and rough sleeping in the City damages tourism, trade and the reputation of the City.

For

Scotland has a huge heart and that compassion for the most disadvantaged in our community is something we’re in awe of every day. Many people want to help and often spend time chatting with people begging and giving food and drink. For some of those people on the street that acknowledgement from people who care is hugely reaffirming in a world where most of the time they are invisible.

Begging is a pretty miserable occupation and whilst there is a lot of compassion there is quite a bit of abuse too. Generally speaking not many of us would wish to spend our days sitting in the streets hoping for money so people do it because they have a need. It’s not really a lifestyle choice.

People beg to meet a need and if they can’t receive money from begging it may mean they turn to petty crime or prostitution to fund that need though there is no evidence to support this.

Income from begging can average £60 to £120 a day. Towards Christmas we heard estimates of around £200 per day. For some that is the only income they have and does provide for their basic needs. There are a few people who travel from outside the City to beg and their stories are not always what they seem however they are in our experience very few in number.

Our experience suggests that the majority of people begging are respectful, in need and grateful for assistance. We have found few examples of aggressive begging.

On a number of occasion we have encountered people who’ve effectively landed in Glasgow with nothing who are genuinely trying to raise money to get home. Our Street team has a budget funded through donations to support people to get home safely, comfortably and quickly. You can call our Street Team on the Freephone number below.

If you’re really not sure about giving then perhaps offer a coffee or a sandwich. Most people would welcome this assistance though some may say they would prefer cash.

Charities in Scotland

There are a number of charities in Glasgow and across Scotland that provide support and will provide shelter, food, warm showers, clothing and advice. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer, donate goods, help raise money and make donations.

Supporting the Glasgow Street Team

Our Street Team work on the streets 7 days a week offering help and support to people rough sleeping and begging in the city. If you want to help there are ways you can donate money, items or volunteer. In Glasgow our Street Team will pay for Hotel accommodation to get people off the street, we’ll arrange clothes, food, showers and assistance in getting accommodation.

For some people Home is a Journey and we provide a service that supports people to get home safely, comfortably and with dignity. Last year we supported people home to Dublin, Manchester, Dubrovnik, Milan and even Paisley. We’ll also work with our counterpart homeless charities to arrange support when they get home.

The Team works 7 days a week and you can contact them on our Freephone number if you have a concern about someone rough sleeping on 0800 027 7466.

Rucksack & Handbag Appeal 2016

In the weeks leading up to the appeal it was a whirlwind of activity and we had a short window to get plans in place. Everyone was super keen to make this happen, so with an all hands on deck and team spirit approach our plans came to fruition. As donations and offers of support flooded in, the anticipation for the day began to mount, we waited with baited breath…………… and Wow !!

Overwhelming Support

What can we say, you didn’t let us down! Staff, Partners, people we support , willing members of the public and local business ,the response was overwhelming.

Figures are still being counted as we speak, but we can say at this stage in excess of 1200 Rucksack and Handbag donations were received and over 130 volunteers turned out to help on the day, not to mention those who helped in the lead up. The feedback from you all has been wonderful and most said not only did they feel they had spent a day doing something really worthwhile for a great cause but actually had a great time too.

Friends of Simon Community 

From Volunteer Drivers, Donation station hosts, sorting and prepping volunteers, Friends of Simon Community volunteers , Volunteer Community Groups, the support was immense and has got us all extremely excited for the forthcoming launch of our Simon Community Scotland Volunteer programme in the new year. (Keep your eyes peeled on updates on our volunteer page for more info on how to get involved)

Your generous donations are already making a difference in the lives of the people we support and we are working hard to get as many items distributed to the folk who need it this side of the year.

Keep in touch

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter @SimonCommScot for regular updates on how we are doing.

Plans are already in the making to make next year’s appeal day even bigger and we promise we won’t run out of soup!

Our Thanks 

Everyone here at Simon Community Scotland, staff and the people we support would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all who contributed, without your incredible help it just would not be possible! Please keep in touch! And we look forward to seeing you all again next year if not before.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for continuing to support us in combatting the cause and effects of homelessness.

On The Streets of Our City

Homelessness can happen to anyone, and I mean anyone, and at this time of year, when the temperatures fall below freezing it’s really heart rending to think that so many people are sleeping out on our streets.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Simon Community’s Street Outreach service on Wednesday to see at first hand some of the issues homeless people are facing and also the range of support and real compassion shown by the Simon Community’s staff.

I meet up with Donna Finlayson and Brian Roberts at the Simon Community Hub on London Road to get a quick briefing about the Street Outreach RSVP (Rough Sleepers and Vulnerable Person’s) Service they provide before heading out to join them on their route around the city centre.  Brian is one of the key workers providing the RSVP service and quickly showed how knowledgeable he is about homelessness and the issues people are facing.  Brian makes a point of doing his best to get to know people and make sure that they know what services are available – whether that’s in a hour’s time when they can call someone to bring them a warm sleeping bag to an agreed place, to tomorrow, when support can be giving to make an application for accommodation, provide advice or arrange to see a Dr.

The first person we met had just been told that no accommodation was available for him in the city that night.  That means that he would have to be out on the streets.  A recent relationship breakdown and longer term issues from the past have made this young man isolated and homeless and Brian did his best to offer support to someone who was very clearly despondent and frustrated at his situation.  Brian gave him the number to call for the sleeping bag service later that night and said that he would aim to follow up and support him with his attempt to gain some at least temporary accommodation via the local authority.

After crossing the river and in an area a stone’s through from bustling Argyle Street, Brian took me to see a place where quite a number of rough sleepers will seek shelter for the night.  Through a dark car park and behind the cladding of a large building was a narrow open space with a small concrete platform area stretching back into the pitch black.  The whole place was filled by litter and filth but it is sheltered from the worst that Glasgow weather can bring and offer relative safety from the open street.  It’s pretty desperate to be calling such a place “shelter” and “safety” but that’s the shocking reality.

Before continuing on the street patrol with Brian and Donna we made a flying visit to our friends at Glasgow City Mission whose staff and volunteers were getting things ready for the evening drop in service which provides a hot evening meal five nights a week to people affected by homelessness.  In fact this service will be benefitting from the funds raised by the Rangers Charity Foundation’s recent Big Ibrox Sleep Out event.  At least 80 people were expected to turn up that night for some hot food and a safe environment for a couple of hours where friendly volunteers can ensure that everyone is made to feel welcome and has the opportunity to speak to someone.

We set out on a criss cross route from Argyle Street to Sauchiehall Street via Buchanan Street and parts of the Merchant City and met around 15 people either begging or trying to keep warm in their sleeping bags in unused shop doorways.  There was a real range of people and the issues they are facing.  Brian said that many had severe mental health issues, including one who had tried to jump off a bridge over the Clyde just two weeks ago.  Another had been released from a secure mental health ward and then found themselves immediately homeless and on the streets again.  A number of the young people we met were also using heroin and begging to help feed this habit.  I asked Brian if it was good to give money to people begging in the city centre and he said he tried to keep an open mind and that it was up to the individual what they decided to do.  Clearly some people are begging to maintain their drug addiction and giving money can only help sustain this.  It’s not only money you can give though, a few minutes friendly conversation may be the only time that day that someone has taken the time to speak to someone who is homeless, an offer to buy some food might be very welcome or a warm hat or pair of gloves to someone who clearly has none.  It’s a personal choice whether to stop and engage with someone who asks for money or even when they don’t.  Tonight’s experience has certainly made me feel that I will stop and chat with someone more often and see if there is something I can buy to brighten their day in some way.

Not everyone wants help.  We met two men who had been sleeping rough for months.  They had their spot outside a disused shop and they showed no inclination to actively seek the support that might lead to a longer term accommodation solution.  No one could describe their situation as comfortable but in Brian’s line of work, everyone has to be respected, everyone has different issues that lead them to being homeless and the main thing is to keep gently offering support and services, and respecting people as individuals.

After two hours we started heading back to the Simon Community’s Hub.  On the way, Brian stopped to chat to a young man and provide some clean needles to him to help keep him safe, at least in the short term, from the transfer of disease from shared/dirty needle use.  We also met a woman who had previously been homeless and now had some secure accommodation and who was out on a freezing night like this in an area known for prostitution.  Brian explained to me that there are a number of support services available for this woman and that he hoped that sometime in the future this may be a positive option and choice to help her.

Safely back at the Hub I thanked Brian for allowing me to join him on his normal Street Outreach patrol of the city centre.  I was really impressed by the Simon Community’s work and the by the compassion and professionalism shown by their staff.  My insight to homelessness on a freezing cold November night in Glasgow was just a few hours long, but long enough to make me consider homelessness in a fresh light, to hopefully encourage me to stop to chat to someone much more often and to definitely feel confident that the Rangers Charity Foundation is doing something profoundly worthwhile in supporting the Simon Community.

Glasgow Bike Station becomes a Friend of the Street Team

Greg Chauvet Managing Director of the Glasgow Bike Station met with our CEO today to register their commitment to helping vulnerable people in the city by becoming a Friend of the Street Team.

The scheme asks businesses, shops and organisations to support the efforts of our Street Team by sharing information on the work of the Simon Community, raising awareness of the help that’s available and having contact cards and details onsite for customers who may be concerned about someone but not sure how to help.

Our Street Team work 24/7 supporting rough sleeper and people who are homeless to find somewhere safe off the Street and can be contacted on 0800 027 7466.

The Glasgow Bike Station first came in to being in 2010 at the Barras in Glasgow. Founder and Social Entrepreneur of the year 2105, Greg Chauvet, left a corporate business world (and the French Rivera), disillusioned by the greed and poor treatment of employees to set up a social enterprise that was connected, was fair and looked after people – not only staff and volunteers, but the health and wellbeing of everyone who takes to cycling.

It was his own experience of learning to cycle as an adult and the negative reactions he encountered in Glasgow that prompted him to do something about supporting cycling.

Today the Bike Station goes from strength to strength and as well as selling and refurbishing second hand bikes the Bike Station also delivers multiple socially inspired programmes to teach, train, promote and introduce cycling to Glaswegians.

Trusty Paws dog clinic

Trusty Paws is a monthly drop in service in the Hub for any person experiencing homelessness who has a dog.


At the drop-in clinic, anyone experiencing homelessness can bring their dog to be checked over, they can get appropriate advice and their dog can receive vaccinations.

In addition to this, the owner of the dog can build up a relationship with the student vets and the Simon Community Staff at the drop-in. This may open up opportunities for providing additional support and help to access relevant services.

It’s great to be working with the folk from Trusty Paws Clinic to offer this service!

If you’d like more info, give our team at the Hub a ring on 0141 552 4164 or you could call 0800 027 7466 (Free from landlines).

To visit the Hub: 72 London Rd, Glasgow G1 5NP

Hear about Melissa’s journey with the Simon Community


My journey working with the Simon Community Scotland began in 2011 as an HNC Social Care student where I was on placement at the Govanhill Women’s Service. I enjoyed my time as a student working with the Simon Community so I decided to apply for a permanent job. I was lucky enough to get an interview and gained employment.

Expanding my experience and qualifications

I started working nightshifts at the Kent Road Women’s Service. I was also able to pick up some daytime shifts. This gave me the opportunity to gain more experience in different roles, including doing co-keywork, as well as work towards completing my SVQ3. I’m very grateful for this as I now have this qualification!

Moving to Castlemilk Men’s Service

After a year and a half I felt that I had outgrown my role as a Nightshift worker and wanted to work as a daytime member of staff. A vacancy came up within the Castlemilk men’s service. It was only fixed term to cover maternity leave, but I felt it was a good opportunity to learn more as a secondment. I visited the Simon Community website to get a bit more information. I knew it was a service for me, but not much more! I found out that it is a registered care home for six men with addiction issues. I decided to bite the bullet and apply for the post and again I was lucky enough to gain the role!

Joining a new team

I was nervous about starting at the Castlemilk service, just like anyone is on their first day of a new job. There was no need to be concerned –  the staff team at Castlemilk were very welcoming and friendly, as well as the service users. The staff were great at showing me the ropes and making me feel a part of the team right away.

Working alongside people at Castlemilk

Castlemilk Service has a nice homely feel to it and a good atmosphere. As with any service which supports individuals with chaotic lifestyles it can have ups and downs, but everyone here pulls together to get through things.

The service was recently decorated which was a bonus. It’s great to be able be in the lovely living room with the service users and “have a gab. All of the service users can sit down to dinner together in the dining room, which also has a darts board and pool table for the guys.

House meetings are held regularly so that the folk living at Castlemilk are able to have a say in everything to do with the service – most importantly house chores and who is cooking each night of the week! This is also when discussions around social activities takes place so the service users decide what they would like to do – for example, things like fishing, bowling, cinema and much more.

Dread turns to delight!

As my secondment was coming to an end, I was dreading leaving the Castlemilk service. I had been working closely alongside service users as a keyworker helping them put a personalised care plans in place that would help them work towards their needs and goals. I had been doing this work for nine months as a Support Worker (level 2). I was delighted that a full-time Support Worker (level 2) post at Castlemilk came up and I went for it. I’m currently on my probation period working in this position and have high hopes of being part of this fabulous service for a long time!

Carly’s Story: From Prison to Presentations!

Carly’s Story: From Prison to Presentations!

Tough Start


Growing up was difficult and quite chaotic at times. I remember feeling really ashamed and didn’t like myself. I saw the world as a hostile place. I quickly learned if I shouted louder and fought better that would keep people away – I didn’t want people to see the real me. I was quite popular and had lots of friends but wasn’t close to anyone. I felt alone. I was always up in arms against the world.

Hard times

When I started using I felt better. Nothing else mattered and I was complete. It was just alcohol and hash at first but I moved on to harder drugs quite quickly and addiction took over. I would do anything for money for drugs which included shoplifting. I got my first remand in Corntonvale when I was sixteen. Life was pretty much a cycle of making money and getting drugs. One day I woke up to find my boyfriend dead beside me from an overdose.

I felt scared, alone and angry. I went into a Detox centre but I didn’t care about anything anymore. I was asked to leave as my behaviour was really bad. Five days later I had a hit of Coke and had a massive brain haemorrhage which led to a stroke. I was paralysed down my right hand side and couldn’t walk or talk. I was 27.

I spent a year in the Southern General re-learning to walk, talk and live again.

New hope, new accommodation and new challenges

After I came out of hospital I went into a supported accommodation place. I had lost my home while I was in the hospital ­– they just changed the locks. I got a new house in the West End that I have now managed to maintain for 11 years. I stayed clean for four years, went to college and on holidays. I was really living life.

Then I had a number of health problems for which I was put on opiate medication. I was off and running again. This time I went into a rehabilitation service. I knew what I had to do: you have to look at your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and make changes.

Volunteering and new work

I do voluntary work now and I’m so passionate because it changes people’s lives.

To become a Peer Volunteer for the Simon Community we did 12 weeks training. The training was brilliant and it helped with my confidence and self-esteem.

I even had the confidence to apply for a Hepatitis C Community Trainee position with Waverley Care. I was really nervous going for the interview. I went to the Simon Community to pick up my training certificates beforehand and was told to “just be myself and that’s what I did. Waverley Care phoned that afternoon to offer me the position: I think I screamed! I couldn’t believe it especially as I thought that I had messed the interview up.

I have been at Waverley Care a couple of months now. I’m working with people affected by Hepatitis and I use my lived experience to help empathise with others. I have fitted in with the staff team and I’m learning all the time. They are also helping to put me through my SVQ3. There have been challenges but I’m facing them and reflecting on what I could have done differently. Sometimes I can’t believe how different my life is.

Brighter horizons

This past year has been amazing. I’m even learning to drive which I thought would never happen as I only have the use of one hand. I can do anything I put my mind to. From a wheelchair to four wheels driving around and from prison to presentations with my work: Now that’s what I call living life!

Sarah Jane: Finding New Confidence And Skills

My first interview

I was working on my recovery when I came across the Simon Community. They were doing interviews for a training programme for volunteers. I was unsure whether or not I was ready to try this because I had never been for an interview before. I realised that only by pushing through my uncertainty would I make further progress.

Learning new things

I worried for nothing! The process was quite informal, helpful and very supportive. The 12 week training programme covered what would be expected of you as a volunteer and also what you could expect from the Simon Community as a volunteer. The subjects included: Child Protection, Adult Support & Protection, SafeTalk, Confidentiality, Boundaries, Challenging Behaviours, and Roles and Responsibilities.

Through the programme I started volunteering in the Hub. This really improved my confidence and self esteem. I went out with the Street Team and saw another side of the work they do.

Experience helps!

In my time recovering in Phoenix and also as a volunteer one thing stands out above all else: people will share their worries and hopes with others who have had a similar experience either in addiction, mental health, homelessness or having come through the Care System.

As part of my volunteering, I was approached by Glenda and Ashley to help with a piece of research around Self Directed Support. I was given the task of talking to service users who had been or still were homeless. This went really well because they could relate to the fact that I am going through the process of being homeless myself.

Taking on new challenges

Through the support and confidence gained as a volunteer for the Simon Community, I put myself forward to be part of a recovery group for the North East. I was able to use my knowledge, skills and experience to benefit this new initiative. In January 2014 North East Recovery Communities (NERC) was established and I became a Committee member for the very first time.