A day in the life – street fundraising in Dumfries

Last week Matthew Swegsda, one of our street fundraisers, got in touch with me. He joined Shelter Scotland in August and has grown into a confident, passionate, professional fundraiser. He told me about what happened to him when he was out trying to raise awareness and money for us, on the streets of Dumfries. His story made such an impression on me that I wanted to share it with you.

‘I had the pleasure of signing up a really interesting woman the other day. She insisted that we have coffee and a chat where she told me that she had received an MBE from the Queen, told me that she was an artist, poet and songwriter. I then told her my own life story and musical journey, and all the time we were chatting she was sketching a picture of me on the back of a postcard. Along with this picture she gave me a poem, called ‘The Home Guard’, to read. She also told me about the times she experienced sleeping rough on the streets of Glasgow.

Needless to say this was one of best moments that I’ve had as a fundraiser and experiences like this make me love my job. This conversation started with a kind gesture and ended with me knowing that I will definitely be keeping in touch with this incredible person who has an inspiring and unique take on life.

These are the people we all too easily forget about. These are the people who have cracked true happiness, as for every sad part of their story they always look for the silver lining, and if people can get through their hardships and continue to do what they love, then share it with complete strangers and be happy then we need more people like this in our lives.

I wouldn’t trade what happened today for a winning lottery ticket!’

Matthew’s story proves that not only are we there to raise money. Meeting and chatting to the public allows us to feel empowered to work harder to help in any way we can. You never know who you are going to talk to next and what you’re going to take away from each and every meeting. And I’ll leave the last word to Matthew:

‘There are some unbelievable people out there and I challenge every one of you to make a complete stranger smile today and I guarantee it will make you feel great!’

Make a donation to Shelter Scotland.

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Ali Jones

Ali Jones

I'm the Face to Face Fundraising Manager for Shelter Scotland. I started my Shelter career in Manchester and have never looked back. Fundraising is rewarding, gives you confidence, social skills, and you meet really interesting people along the way!

  • Yvonne

    Spoke to Marvellous Matthew today! He is truly an inspiration and I was sorry that I couldn’t help him immediately with a donation, as I don’t have a bank account. However, I am home now and will borrow my husband’s (with his permission, of course!) and will also knit some hats too. Thank you for brightening my day and giving me the chance to help others too.

  • i met Matthew on Saturday after doin a 5k walk with one of my daughters and 2 grandchildren… he is a credit to Shelter…. it was pouring with rain… and he sheltered us with his umbrella…. he had 1 glove on… this he said was his good side….his warm side…. his hand was ‘sheltered’ … his bare hand was his bad side…. open to all weathers … like every homeless person living in our streets…. this wee man is an inspiration…. we need more like him doing the great job he does… he made my day that cold wet day… and if only half the young folk nowadays turned out like Matthew we’d have a world to be proud of ….. well done for employing Matthew….his warmth and personality is 2nd to none