What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?
As a volunteer with GUSH, I would meet the other volunteers on campus to pack the shift supplies and travel together to the shift location. Once on shift, I was responsible for making cold and hot drinks, distributing food, and chatting with the service users. On 'sandwich shifts' I would put together sandwiches in the SRC kitchen space.
Once I became a more experienced volunteer, I became a shift leader. As shift leader I am additionally responsible for coordinating the other volunteers, buying supplies for the shift, and handling any problems whilst on shift.
Why did you choose to volunteer?
After moving to Glasgow to study, I was living in a large city for the first time. I saw the large number of people experiencing homelessness and wanted to do something to help. After speaking to existing volunteers at the freshers fair in my second year, and hearing about how much they enjoyed volunteering with other students, I signed up to volunteer with GUSH.
What have you enjoyed most during your time as a volunteer??
My favourite event is our present giving at Christmas time. We meet to wrap the presents and write cards for our service users, and then meet to hand these out on the last shift in December. The atmosphere on this shift is always lovely, and it's great to see the other volunteers and service users just before Christmas to wish them a happy holiday.
I have also really enjoyed my three years on the GUSH committee. It was great fun to work as a team to put on events like freshers' fair, cake sales, pub quiz fundraisers and more.
How much of an impact do you feel your volunteering has made??
You get to know well several of the regularly attending service users. I think the most valuable part of the service we provide is getting to know each other, as it is frequently reported that people experiencing homelessness feel de-humanised and isolated. A lot of the volunteers we meet from other volunteering organisations, such as Emmaus, used to be homeless themselves, which goes to show the impact groups like these can have.
What would you tell a student who is thinking about volunteering??
Go for it! The other students you will be volunteering with are all like-minded people and there will always be somebody experienced there to answer and queries you have. I have had a great time volunteering, meet good friends, and would definitely do so again if I was starting my University journey.
If you could sum up your volunteering experience in one word, what would it be???