Volunteering with TSP
Volunteers are an essential part of the team contributing to the overall success of the night shelter project. It can be a heart-warming and rewarding experience, sharing your time and effort with an interesting and varied group of people, both guests and fellow volunteers. If, at any time, you are not sure of your role, or you are worried about anything, please do not hesitate to contact the Venue Coordinator who will try to remedy any problem as soon as possible.
Perhaps the most important role as a volunteer is to offer every person who uses the night shelter the respect they deserve as a member of society. This means that as a group of volunteers we do NOT patronise the people using the shelters, but instead welcome them as fellow human beings. This way we can offer our guests an ambience in which they may feel free to express themselves and, we hope, have an increased sense of self-confidence which may help them to take a move away from homelessness.
You may also feel curious about some guests’ life experiences. Please understand that some of the guests may feel let down or deeply saddened by them and may not want to talk about them.
However, some guests do like to talk about their experiences. We ask you to respect their privacy and not to repeat anything you may hear in conversation with another person while at the night shelter. However, if you hear information that you feel could compromise the safety of anyone in the night shelter, then we ask you to pass this on to the Project Coordinator or Venue Coordinator immediately.
Please do not make any promises. We want our guests to trust in our service and to work with us to improve it. If we fail to develop that level of trust, it will have a bad effect on our guests and the service we provide. For instance, telling someone who is not on the guest list that they are definitely going to get into the night shelter, when you yourself cannot be sure of this, will raise false expectations and make the job of the people working on the door far more difficult.
Offering support as a Christian
The Shelter Project runs on the basis of Christian ethos. However, this does not mean that we do not welcome guests and volunteers who are not Christian. Above all, we
do not force any belief – religious, political, moral or any other on those around us. Christian beliefs and fellowship provided the motivation to start this endeavour and continue to provide the inspiration for much of the work that goes on.
However, treating each person as an equal means respecting their views and not trying to force your own views onto other, sometimes very vulnerable, people. In short, as a volunteer we ask you not to proselytise. But if an opportunity arises for a faith conversation, then we ask you to exercise gentleness and sensitivity as you share your faith, giving the guest all opportunities to receive encouragement from you; at the same time also allow them an out clause and a choice about their own beliefs.
Thank you for considering to volunteer at The Shelter Project – our work would not be possible without you.