Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Growing confidence through volunteering

Our News in Brief

Growing confidence through volunteering

2nd June 2017
Volunteers’ Week runs from the 1 – 7 June and celebrates the hard work and fantastic contribution that some 21 million volunteers make in the UK each year.

At Caritas Anchor House, we recognise the benefits and skills our residents acquire from volunteering and that’s why we have a dedicated volunteering programme which supports them to develop their skills, explore activities of interest and become active members of our local community in East London.

Whether it’s welcoming guests to Caritas Anchor House, preparing food in the kitchen, helping out with maintenance tasks or lending a hand with fundraising, there’s something for everyone. In the year to March 2016, our residents completed 2,139 hours of volunteering.

Erin*, one of our residents who volunteers, came to Caritas Anchor House in 2016 having being referred to us from the probation service. When she first arrived, Erin felt overwhelmed and found it hard to adjust to life outside of prison and build new relationships. However, at Caritas Anchor House, Erin receives support to rebuild her life and overcome any barriers she may face. Her Lifestyle Architect provides specialist advice and emotional support, explores Erin’s strengths and interests and encourages participation in community activities.

“I was a mess when I came to Caritas Anchor House. I was distressed and anxious, but Caritas Anchor House showed me respect and care from the moment I arrived. My Lifestyle Architect, Sian, helped me to organise my life when I wasn’t on my A-game and continues to support me.”

"My love of gardening flourished when I was welcomed by Terry, John and Emin at Caritas Anchor House – the facilities team – who have given me endless support, listened to me and encouraged me to grow.”

Erin’s love of gardening started when when she used to be a ‘jobbing’ gardener, and soon enough she began volunteering with the Caritas Anchor House facilities team who look after our patio and shrubs. Erin volunteers with the facilities team, and enjoys the responsibility of nurturing our green spaces. She picks up new plant supplies and has planted tulips, crocuses, daffodils and grape hyacinth and helped to create a relaxing area for residents to socialise.

“Volunteering has given me my self-confidence back and has made me feel welcome and human again. I now have a sense of hope where before I was lost. Gardening makes me feel very relaxed and I’m very proud when I look at the garden and I can say I helped make that.”

With her new found confidence, Erin is now hoping to become a professional dog groomer. Erin was supported to secure a place at a prestigious college and is currently undertaking a Level Two Certificate in Dog Grooming with City and Guilds. She says, “without the support and glowing reference I may have struggled to get my place, I’m so grateful.” Erin plans to enrol on the Level Three Diploma in September, and hopes to set up her own dog grooming business in the future. 


(*At their request, the client's name has been changed to protect their identity.)

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