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Date published: September 5, 2023

Giving back on UN International Day of Charity

September 5th is the UN International Day of Charity, and this year we wanted to highlight the charitable and voluntary work done across the country by people supported in Shared Lives.

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Jake, who was highly commended in our Shared Living Awards two years ago is a dedicated volunteer. On two days a week he volunteers at Winton Park Café in Bournemouth, and on another two days he volunteers for The Crumbs Project.

In the café Jake’s role includes taking orders, preparing and serving food & drinks, and cleaning up around the café. During his shift on Tuesdays there is a weekly ‘carers café’ and he has gotten to know the members well. While this role is customer facing, his work at Crumbs is more “behind the scenes”.

Jake started at Crumbs as a trainee, but wanted to stay involved with the organisation after he finished his course. He now works as a volunteer admin assistant, supporting new trainees and other volunteers, and doing valuable office work including typing up menus, photocopying and laminating, and checking emails for the charity. He says it is the best job in the world.

In Norfolk, Skallett (pronounced like Scarlett) volunteers for Norfolk and Suffolk Animal Trust.

”My duties are serving the customers, using the till, helping to put stuff on the shelves, making sure the clothes and other items are tagged. I enjoy volunteering and meeting new people.”

Just up the coast in Lincolnshire, Jordan has been giving back to one of the organisations that has helped him. While going to local support centre, Virginia House, Jordan developed a love of woodworking. Now he sells some of his creations to help fund activities for other people at Virginia House.

Jordan and his Shared Lives carer Andrew have also found that they are quite good singers, and have both joined Louth Male Voice Choir. Recently they took part in a concert at Louth Town Hall which raised £4000 for prostate cancer research and a whole lot more in awareness. You can see a video of the event below.

On the other side of the country, David Harris in Wales has also been raising money by raising his voice.

Every year he does a charity fundraising event for the Sense charity shop where he volunteers. Once the resident DJ in the local gateway club, Dave put on a one-man karaoke show in the shop raising nearly £200 to support Sense.

Also in Wales, Alana became a leader with a local Brownies group, as part of her Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award.

Alana chose Brownies for the volunteer element of the award because she really enjoyed going to Brownies when she was younger and wanted to make sure other girls could have the same opportunity.

Alana’s Shared Lives carer Roy said:

“Everything closed during Covid and, like a lot of people, Alana felt the isolation from not being able to spend time with her friends. It was so slow getting things started again when things began to open up, and Alana really helped bring Brownies back to the area – I don’t know if they could have done it without her.”

Alana is about to start at College and, as soon as she knows what her timetable will be, she wants to start looking for volunteer work to do in her free time. “She’s such a caring person” Roy told us “She loves working with children and young people. So we’re hoping that she has the chance to carry on doing that.”

In London green-fingered animal lover has also been a volunteer at Freightliners City Farm for more than 12 years.

“I go there once a week and feed the animals. My days there are colourful and the people there are very good.”

When he was first offered the position, John jumped at the opportunity to get involved. Animal welfare is very important to John, and he has a special love and connection with animals. They feel comfortable with John and John isn’t fazed by anything, whether it’s a worm, spider, or a cow.

Produce from the farm is used in Freightliners canteen, and the money raised helps pay for feed and bedding for the animals. It makes John feel proud and happy making him feel connected to the local community, as well as the enjoyment he gets from the work itself.

“I enjoy learning the names of different plants, planting seeds and weeding. It makes me feel good being outside in the fresh air and seeing how the plants turn out when they have grown.”

Jake is supported by Poole and Bournemouth Shared Lives

Skallett is supported by PSS Norfolk and Suffolk 

Jordan is supported by PSS Lincolnshire 

Dave is supported by PSS Wales

Alana is supported by Ategi Wales

and John is supported by Islington Shared Lives