Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

National Volunteers Week 2021 – A massive thank you to all our amazing volunteers!

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National Volunteers Week 2021 – A massive thank you to all our amazing volunteers!

2nd June 2021
It is National Volunteers’ Week this week, and to celebrate we are looking back at the amazing work our volunteers having been doing over the past 12 months to support our residents and teams.

During the past year we’ve seen a countless number of selfless contributions from so many generous people who support us with their time and skills, to help make a difference. Despite the limitations which the pandemic brought, we have been grateful for the fantastic volunteers supporting Caritas Anchor House – be it residents, members of our community as well as individuals and teams from our corporate partners.

From helping to set up our food bank, to hosting CV workshops, doing virtual mock interviews over zoom, gardening in our courtyards and even offering haircuts to other residents- we cannot thank our volunteers enough for their incredible support over the past year.

In March the West Ham Foundation, Ballymore and Language Line began organising our first ever CV Brunch events over zoom with our residents. Since then the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) hold regular CV workshops with our residents every week.  We have found that many of our residents do not have up-to-date CVs and are sometimes lacking the confidence to undertake the task of putting their experience down on paper. So, regardless of whether a resident has an existing CV that needs updating or needs to start one from scratch, they will leave the 1-2-1 session with their volunteer knowing that they have a presentable CV and with a better understanding of why their experience is valuable to a prospective employer. Clifford Chance have also been supporting our residents with mock interview practice over zoom and will be restarting their literacy programme for residents soon.

Sian is one of our volunteers who leads our CV workshops. She said, “I’ve enjoyed meeting the residents at Caritas Anchor House in our one-to-one CV sessions. In each of our weekly sessions we go through their previous work experience and skills and dissect which parts we should include and how we can best present it to give them the strongest chance in this incredibly saturated and competitive job market. I’ve really seen residents grow in confidence and progress during our sessions.”

Not only are these session providing vital guidance to our residents in preparing for interview and helping them with their job applications but they also giving improving their self-esteem so that they can re-enter the workforce. It is particularly tough time now to secure employment with more people becoming unemployed as the furlough scheme is lifted and with the economy suffering from the pandemic. Many of our residents have struggled while job searching during the pandemic, and Tom shared that he really values the time our volunteers’ from the FCA give up every Monday lunchtime for him to run through his CV and highlight what he can improve.

“Job searching right now is so stressful. The longer it goes on the more you doubt yourself, particularly when you are doing applications by yourself. Most of the time you don’t hear back from employers. These CV sessions with Zara have really helped me focus in. Hopefully this will give me the edge over the other thousands of people applying right now.”

Luke has also found the power of volunteering too. He has been helping out our Education, Training and Employment team in setting up zoom calls, events and liaising with residents.
“Volunteering has helped develop my personality and communication skills. I’ve really enjoyed the chance to meet new people and to hear the incredible stories from our residents. It’s changed the way I see homelessness, and it feels like I am learning something new every day. This experience at Caritas Anchor House will stay with me throughout my future career and time studying at university.”

We hope that we can open up more volunteering projects later this year as restrictions ease. If you are interested in volunteering with us, please click here to check out our opportunities, or if there is something else you could bring we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with us on volunteering@caritasanchorhouse.org.uk.

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