I started volunteering with Forward because I wanted to help people. And being in the placement year of my Sociology and Criminology degree, I was looking for some hands-on experience to contribute towards a future career.
My main role is with the Recovery and Resettlement Team. I’ve been working with clients to carry out welfare checks and get essential supplies sorted for their new homes. I’ve met so many people that I’ve connected with. That’s why, even though I was supposed to finish my placement in April, I’ve decided to carry on. I’m enjoying it too much!
It’s allowed me to see first-hand how desperate people are, and how much we as a society we need to help them.
I’ve also been helping out with Forward’s online live chat service, Reach Out, which has been eye-opening. Before now, I’d never dealt with vulnerable people in the real world, who have complex issues and are even suicidal. It’s allowed me to see first-hand how desperate people are, and how much we as a society we need to help them.
The situations and conversations I’ve found myself in during my time with Forward have been challenging, but the training I received made me well-prepared. My mentor, Amy, has been extremely helpful. And I’m certainly not short of ongoing support from my teammates. If I get stuck, they’re there to help me out. Everybody’s so supportive and it makes the job so much easier.
I feel much more confident about working with vulnerable people now
The number one thing I’ve learnt through my time volunteering is how to communicate with vulnerable people. Previously, if someone came to me with a problem, I would probably just encourage them to be positive about it. But now I can address things more professionally. I’ve learnt that it’s okay for people to be upset; the focus should simply be on being there for them, and giving or guiding them to the right help.
Ultimately, my experience volunteering with Forward has taught me how to apply the things I’m learning in university, which I hope will help me achieve my dream career in a deprivation service. I feel much more confident about working with vulnerable people now, and I’m certainly in a better position to help them.
The house supplied by Forward gave me a bit of my life back and the breathing space I needed to turn my life around. When I was in prison, I saw people come back soon after they left, after re-offending because they had nowhere to live. Having housing and support from Forward helped me stop this cycle and change my life.Darren B, Former Forward client Read Darren’s story