I applied to become a Refuge Support Volunteer at Housing for Women because I was doing a Social Care Level 3 course and needed some hands–on experience.
At the beginning I shadowed an experienced case worker and once I was ready, I started having my own cases supporting women with anything they needed to improve their situations, form listening to their stories, filling housing applications, to advocating on their behalf to other agencies. I felt I was empowered and supported all the time by everyone. I was part of the team and I think we all pulled our weight together. Knowing that I was helping women made me feel very proud and happy.
I had been volunteering for five months in one of the refuges when a vacancy for a Refuge Support Worker at Housing for Women was advertised. I believe that my supervisor, and the team, saw that person in me because I was encouraged and supported to apply for the job.
I gained a lot of experience in the field of domestic violence during the time I volunteered. I believe that volunteering helped me to be more confident, to enhance my skills and gave me the insight and experience I needed to get a paid job.
I’ve heard about Housing for Women when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. My abusive husband moved out of the house and I stayed on my own raising my two children. I was left with nothing: I had no work, no money and no support but at least I was finally free from violence. Housing for Women offered me the right help and support I needed at that precise moment. It was because of Housing for Women that my life actually changed.
I started volunteering in May 2016. I decided to become a volunteer because I experienced myself the positive effects Housing for Women has on the women they help and because I also wanted to help people. I went through a thorny path but I found myself. Knowing I have my own experience has helped me to help others to find the right way for them to turn their lives around.
Through volunteering at Housing for Women I have learned a lot about myself. I have realised that out there many women and children need help. Giving back to them, knowing that my work has a positive impact in their lives is such an amazing feeling. Every day I grow as a human being because of my volunteering work.
I believe volunteering at Housing for Women is already helping me to achieve my goal of becoming a support worker and it will give me the experience I need to find a job so I can provide for my children and live a happy life doing what I love. I recommend volunteering here because the organisation has a big heart and I can see a brighter future where we can change the world for better.