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Andrew - A view from the trench

An old Chinese proverb says:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach the man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

As a day centre volunteer, I have seen recently that this approach has been greatly encouraged wherever possible with our guests. The team, work hard to ensure our visitors feel valued and they encourage and ensure they feel enabled in their journey to a 'better place'.

I have myself seen the payback from investing time and encouragement to the people who walk through the centre doors. Ok, so food, clothing and shelter are essential for survival, but without acceptance and friendship, you are little more than a functioning vessel as opposed to a human being.

Hope, is needed by everyone. Without hope, motivation is lost. Lack of motivation can lead to lack of purpose, helplessness, depression and addiction.

I have witnessedhope being restored by the aforementioned care and attention, but also by encouraging engagement in practical activities, such as; drawing, clay modelling and practical DIY projects around the centre.

In Mid February, two centre users helped out in constructing a timber retaining wall to prevent soil erosion from rotting the rear of the food bank store. For a couple of hours, they were measuring, drilling and nailing, just like any other worker on a constuction site. We in fact found that we had people with previous building skills.

My original intention was to arrive and do the job myself. However, some guests asked what I was doing, and very soon afterwards, they were fully engaged with a purpose. This was a joy to watch as I stood back and observed their actions. It wonderfully demonstrated the hope that can be derived from the engagement in a worthwhile task with an end goal.

It's easy to forget that our guests haven't always been homeless.

Andrew - Day Centre Volunteer.

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