Kate’s desire to do something positive for those around her led her to volunteer with SHP.

After starting a new job with Deloitte, she discovered the Beyond Me scheme, through which teams of work colleagues undertake a volunteering project together.

With her company’s encouragement, she decided to start a team, finding six keen colleagues. The first step was to discuss what issue they would like to work on. They all felt a sense of guilt walking past homeless people on the street, and decided to find a constructive way to help.

Having chosen to focus on homelessness, they thought about how their skills could best be used. They felt that with their corporate experience they could help people to increase their employability. SHP’s Camden and Islington Aftercare service was a great fit, allowing them to work with people recovering from substance misuse issues who were trying to enter work or training.

During her time with the service, Kate ran employment workshops and conducted mock interviews, with other members of her team acting as mentors. “You get a really different perspective on London,” she says. Like many, she understood homelessness as confined to those living on the street, however working with SHP helped her to understand the diverse challenges faced by those who experience homelessness.

Kate found helping clients to discover their unacknowledged skills particularly rewarding, and says “everyone has a different background”. Clients move relatively quickly through the Aftercare service, but this didn’t stop her from connecting with many of them. “Sometimes you meet someone and you’re really rooting for them,” she says. Despite being well qualified, one client was unable to land a job with the NHS because of his interview skills. After a mock interview, he went on to receive a job offer - a success that Kate is particularly proud of.

Volunteering has also had benefits for Kate, helping her to develop skills that will serve her well in her career. She feels that her ability to facilitate workshops and deliver job interviews improved and – less tangible, but at least as important – she developed the “ability to go into any room, meet any person, and establish a rapport with them.”

Kate really enjoyed working with SHP staff, finding them diligent and passionate. “I really trust SHP,” she says, having been impressed by their commitment to their work and to their clients. Her advice to those thinking about volunteering is to go for it: “You get so much more out of it than you expect!”