Saying thanks to Crisis volunteers in Birmingham

Crisis is a national charity for homeless people. Crisis both helps people directly out of homelessness as well as campaigning for the changes needed to solve it.

Ann-Marie Snelson, Volunteer Coordinator at Crisis Skylight Birmingham said that the volunteer team at Crisis have continued to be a massive support to their service throughout the lockdown. Ann-Marie asked to convey her thanks to her volunteers via this blog and has two of their stories.

#WaveForVolunteers from Anne-Marie Snelson

“I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to all Crisis Skylight Birmingham Volunteers, for your patience, generosity and continued support. The last few months have seen unprecedented challenges for everyone, including our volunteers. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our volunteers, all too willing to help in any way possible.  Whilst we continue to adapt our service to do everything we can to support members, I’d like to say thank you to our volunteers for your patience and flexibility. Volunteers are a vital part of Crisis Skylight Birmingham and I look forward to working with you all again soon.”

Calum – Maths Quiz Volunteer

Calum is a fantastic volunteer who supports our Maths Quiz class at Crisis Skylight Birmingham. Since lockdown, members attending the quiz have not been able to meet physically but with Calum’s support the group has kept running remotely. This is what Calum has to say:

“Hey guys, my name is Calum and I have been assisting Marc in the Maths quiz. I have absolutely loved being a part of the group, as keeper of the Scores! I also help maintaining order with the rabble (this is an exaggeration everyone is good).There are times when Marc has needed me to adjudicate on which team gets the point.

Calum, Maths Quiz volunteer

Most recently the role has changed as we moved to WhatsApp. There has been questions every day at Noon and weekly a 30 minute session on a Wednesday around 2.30pm.

All in all I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the guys in the class. The fast pace of WhatsApp has kept me on my toes, that’s for sure. My pen has been at the ready and I’m sure steam has emitted from my hand a few times. For me personally I have taken the most from the feeling of giving back through giving my time. Alongside this the structure to my own week has helped me maintain my focus and sense of purpose.

I really can’t say enough for what such a simple thing on the outside has done for me. I’m not sure the people involved do either, and I want to take this chance to say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone, to Crisis in general for believing in me, and giving me the opportunity.”

Dan – Volunteer Peer Researcher

Dan, as part of a team of #Health Now Peer Researchers in Birmingham got off to a great start earlier this year, completing research training and beginning to interview people experiencing homelessness to understand their experience of accessing healthcare.

We were not expecting this research to suddenly go on hold due to the recent coronavirus outbreak! Straight away Groundswell redirected their research efforts to better understand the impact of coronavirus on the lives of people experiencing homelessness; with the aim to understand, track and include the voices of people experiencing homelessness in national and local decision making processes, happening in response to coronavirus.

Throughout these changes, Dan has continued to show commitment to volunteering as a Peer Researcher and taken up every opportunity he can to support the recent coronavirus research. Whilst the training Dan completed focused on conducting health interviews face to face, he has shown real adaptability, and contributed to the coronavirus research by providing online and telephone feedback, as well as mastering Zoom to take part in larger meetings. Dan continues to contribute on a regular basis on all platforms.

Anne-Marie concludes “I’d like to say big thank you to Dan and all of our Peer Researchers for everything you have done, on behalf of everyone at Crisis and Groundswell!  I am looking forward to continuing to read research findings in the fortnightly briefings and seeing how this shapes positive changes across homelessness and health sectors.”