Star volunteers presented with awards at Thames Reach summer event

Words from winners of our Volunteer Awards, presented in-person at our recent summer event

Star volunteers presented with awards at Thames Reach summer event

We recently hosted our annual summer event, celebrating the hard work of our volunteers in person at our Employment Academy site. Part of the event was the prizegiving of our Volunteer Awards, presented by Thames Reach Chief Executive, Bill Tidnam, and nominated by the staff who have worked with them. Here are some words from staff nominating their star volunteers, as well as some words from a few of our winners:

Samara won an award for her work in the Rapid Response outreach team. The member of staff who nominated her said:

“I’d like to nominate Samara for a volunteer award. She joined in November and since then she has been committed and reliable. She is really enthusiastic about her role and picks up 2 to 5 shifts every month and workers are really happy to be paired up with her. She shows lots of genuine interest and passion in helping people experiencing homelessness, and has inquired about extra training to improve her skills in supporting people. She has recently had database training which will be very beneficial for the shift so workers can focus on other tasks. She is good with people as well; she is kind and has a natural way of talking to people that makes them feel at ease. She is really good at communicating and is responsive, engaging through messages and e mails.

I think she deserves to win a volunteer award to show her that her work and time are much appreciated.”

Samara said: “The volunteer experience has been amazing. I loved going out to different areas and meeting people from all walks of life. Everyone’s stories and situations are different. I have had the honour to devote my time to such an amazing organisation which does so much for the community and helps people experiencing homelessness. I decided to volunteer with Thames Reach because I believe in their vision to end homelessness, and their vision aligns with my vision, and my vision is that everyone deserves a place they can call home. Not only that, but I hope to inspire the next generation to give back to the community and to help anyone that’s in need.”

Martin has been volunteering with outreach. His nominating member of staff said: “Martin has been working tirelessly since before lockdown and all through the lockdown period. He is reliable and always on time; he gives up his free time to cover 1 or sometimes 2 shifts a week and volunteers during street counts without fail. He shares his extensive knowledge of the various hidden areas of the City of London due to working in the City for many years, which has helped me & the team immensely. He has endless energy!”

Martin said: “It is truly humbling and inspirational to be able to accompany and support the Thames Reach outreach teams on shifts and see the amazing dedication, professionalism and empathetic compassion they all demonstrate when engaging with people experiencing street homelessness or those with insecure accommodation. Each individual referral is always treated with great respect and sympathetic patience, despite sometimes initial recalcitrance, and as a result one can quickly see genuine improvements in both existing clients’ & new referrals’ health and life chances. The team’s commitment through the challenges of Covid was extraordinary and clearly reflected in the encouraging decline in street count numbers; but even for those now settled in secure accommodation thanks to the team’s efforts, knowing that they can still call on their support must be a continuing great comfort and undoubtedly critical in preventing a return to the streets.”

Kelly was nominated for her work with the Croydon Housing First team. “She has worked really well with her peers, support workers and the people we work with. She has a calm and gentle persona that has helped her gain the trust of the people she works with but has also shown a great level of empathy and insight into different people’s needs and challenges they are faced with. She has co-mentored one person with her peer, and alongside him has enabled someone with multiple complex needs to feel more settled in their home. This has not only prevented them from abandoning their property, but also helped them to start feeling less isolated, take pride in their appearance and that of their flat, which she is working to make more homely. Kelly is passionate and dedicated to her learning, volunteering to shadow different teams and workers as well as dedicating her time to further training and development.”

Well done to all winners, and a huge thank you to everyone who volunteers with us. You are a vital part of our work ending street homelessness!