''I’ve been volunteering at WLM for almost a year now and it’s been such a hugely rewarding experience. Having spotted a leaflet promoting football for the homeless at a local church I thought to myself as a former professional footballer and manager that this would be an ideal opportunity for me to get involved and help out and I’m really pleased that I did.

I’m now volunteering three mornings a week helping out in numerous ways;  from working in the kitchen to manning reception. I am involved in organising appointments for the clients to meet with project workers or nurses, dentists and opticians.  Whilst these are all very practical things the most enjoyment I get is just sitting with our clients and chatting about their stories.  I have found that everyone needs a good talk and a good listener. 

One of the main issues with being homeless is the total lack of socialising, so I set up a football group so clients can meet up fortnightly for a kick about at a local 3G pitch which is brilliant seeing everyone enjoying themselves and building bonds together with the fabulous staff at WLM Seymour Place.

I am really pleased to say that a couple of the football group have now found themselves in full-time employment with one of them claiming that being involved in the football gave him a real sense of confidence,  pride and normality which helped him get him into employment! 

Although I’m sad he no longer joins in our football sessions it gives me huge pride to see him doing so well for himself and to know I played a very small part in helping him back on his feet. WLM is an amazing organisation and the staff are incredible and I’m delighted to be a part of it.'

Paul Peschisolido, WLM Seymour Place volunteer

'I heard about WLM Seymour Place through an event where I met one of their volunteers selling raffle tickets. I had a chat with them and took away a leaflet. You could say that Seymour Place found me! I kept the leaflet for around 6 months before the timing was right for me to apply. I had never worked with street homeless people. I had no idea whether I’d like it or not but I think you shouldn’t fear the unknown.

I started in the day centre by shadowing one of the volunteers to learn the ropes. I help out two mornings a week supporting the services which are used by up to 100 street homeless people each day. I’ve done everything from serving breakfast in the canteen, giving out towels on reception, helping with laundry and post through to handing out clothes.

I like talking to our clients, finding out about their lives and how their week is going. I’m a people person. It’s easy to forget but some people who come to the day centre may not have someone to talk to in their lives. Before coming to WLM I had a vision of rough sleepers but the reality is very different. You could be passing a homeless person every day and not know it. That’s surprised me.

My husband would say volunteering for WLM has made me happier and he’s right! It’s a purpose in my week and I get an awful lot back from volunteering here. I like hearing about the successes when someone gets accommodation sorted or a job. If I can make a little bit of a difference to the people who use Seymour Place then I go away very happy. Give it a go - it’s been great joining the team!'

Carol Knibbs, WLM Seymour Place volunteer

'I've been volunteering at WLM Seymour Place for a little over two years. Our family moved to London from Oklahoma, a southern U.S. state, when my wife took a job transfer in 2015. I'm most importantly a spouse and father of a six-year-old girl Eliana, but also work as a geologist, managing a small business from home in the petroleum industry.

I was feeling a bit isolated working alone and found WLM through a google search. It looked like a wonderful place to serve others in the community while also meeting new people. My only hesitation in reaching out was that growing up in an affluent suburb I had limited interactions with homelessness. My daughter asked a few questions about rough sleepers we had encountered since moving to the city, and while I felt empathy for them, I honestly didn't know the best way to help. As a parent, I felt like I had missed an important teaching opportunity. The services WLM offered, looked the ideal place to learn more. Looking back all kind of questions came to my mind. What kind of help could I offer? What is the best way to start a conversation with someone? What circumstances lead to homelessness and what resources are available?

I reached out and quickly met with Tom McDonald, the deputy manager at WLM Seymour Place. I was overwhelmed by the sense of welcoming I received from the staff, particularly Millie. The wreath of services that were offered in such a quirky old building impressed me. People were welcomed regardless of their race, religion or circumstances. I knew I wanted to be a part of what was going on!

Over the two years of serving, I have been truly inspired by the clients, staff and fellow volunteers. They are some of the most loving, hardworking and benevolent people I have ever met. They lead by example and are selfless in their actions. I have made great friends while working at WLM Seymour Place and get to interact with some of the most interesting people you can imagine. There rarely is a dull moment, what could be better?'

John Broker, WLM Seymour Place volunteer

'I have been volunteering at WLM The Haven for about 6 months. I heard about the work WLM does there helping
people who went through rough times, giving them a home and offering the support they need and wanted to offer some of my time.

I am finding the interaction with the residents truly enriching, and I hope it goes both ways. I would encourage anyone who is considering volunteering at WLM The Haven, both the residents and the staff are lovely, and make you feel welcome straight away.'

Valérian Turbé, WLM The Haven volunteer

'I have been volunteering for WLM The Haven since May 2017 as an arts and crafts
I initially wanted to volunteer to help me figure out whether I wanted to become a counsellor or not and what area of counselling I wanted to go in to. I would never have dreamed that it would give me so much more. 

Volunteering at WLM The Haven has given me so much more than any paid job or course. I have been out of my comfort zone, learnt to be completely present and connected with the clients and my relationships with them has become stronger as a result.

It has helped my confidence and given me valuable experience and being around like-minded volunteers and staff feels like having an extra family. I would say if you can then apply to volunteer! there is a different kind of satisfaction you get after you finish each shift that other jobs don't give you.'

Vishti Sarjoo, WLM The Haven volunteer

'I have been volunteering at WLM The Haven for 3 years after writing to ask if the residents would be interested in taking part in an art project I run. I wanted to involve the residents in Write-London as I know there are few organisations or activities that offer everyone a chance to express themselves via the written word.

In the years since I have helped several of the residents write up some of their stories and to share those stories both within the Haven and the wider community and hosted an art exhibition of one resident's artwork at a gallery in Islington.'

Tom Mallender, WLM The Haven volunteer

The more we give, the happier we feel! Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. Did you know volunteering is an excellent way to boost your career prospects as well?

Volunteer for WLM