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I approached Shelter Scotland during COVID-19 lockdown back in April 2020.

I had approached numerous organisations and noticed that many of these felt like job interviews, wanting to know what I could do for their charity as opposed to asking what my goals were from a volunteering standpoint. I distinctly remember Shelter Scotland being different.

In my initial chat with Anthea, a Volunteer Support Officer, she had explained that so many people had contacted Shelter Scotland wanting to help but that that there were no volunteer roles available at that time.

During our chat, I’d spoken about reasons for wanting to help out with Shelter Scotland and Anthea thought I would be perfect for Time for Change Edinburgh and linked me up with William, a Senior Development Worker, to get involved.

Time for Change helped me regain confidence I had lost and enabled me to get involved with helping other people.  For example, I met many people during COVID-19 when I linked up with William and Greg, a Development Worker, and went on a street walk.  I will never forget the three people we met within several feet of each other, talking to them, all their different circumstances and complexities. It was a key moment of the day and we got a lot from that.  I really appreciated meeting the guys and felt a real connection as a team.

Greg reflected on the walk about too,

“It was really good to get the face to face, and this really cemented Andrew into TFC and insight into the casework we see and clients we speak to”.

I also was involved in lots of other opportunities including photography project work with Margaret Mitchell, and organisational events and meetings including guest speaking alongside Shelter UK CEO Polly Neate, delivering a NHS Scotland event on temporary accommodation and the mental health, guest speaking at London Community Fundraising inductions and the Volunteer Gathering.

Greg shared his thoughts on my involvement with Time for Change,

“Andrew’s continued involvement and the hard work really helped people, and you can see that from the word go…just involved in so much stuff, really valuable…not many people would give that much time and passion to the cause as he has”

Personal Development

I also completed volunteer induction training online with Anthea and Greg, because I wanted to gain more knowledge and develop my own skills.  Anthea and Greg were so supportive, and we had lots of chats, coffee and bad jokes making the process so enjoyable and really informative.

Personal development has been huge for me, it took me a long, long time to a get back to a good place.  After getting involved in Time For Change I feel like myself again and you don’t recognise it until you go through that and are outside of the bubble you were stuck in.

Anthea reflected on the training session,

“Andrew gave a lot of thought into what he had learned and with the questions he asked, certainly kept me on my toes… I was blown away by his knowledge”

Greg also remembers the training session,

“He exceeded expectations…you don’t always expect people to know knowledge about the law, etc., but Andrew knew a lot, and was a turning point; you could really see him as advisor”

Housing Advisor

At the end of 2020 a Housing Advisor job came up in the Edinburgh Hub team and I felt confident to apply for this.  I was so anxious waiting to hear back and I could not believe it when I was told I got the job.  I became a Housing Advisor with the Edinburgh Hub team in January 2021.

William, reflected,

“Andrew came into Shelter Scotland selflessly wanting to help local people experiencing homelessness.  It was as simple as that.  But not only has he done this, but he has helped his local community, Time for Change, Volunteering and Shelter Scotland develop into something better, something stronger; and now uses all his skills and learning to help people across Scotland as an Advisor.  He is a legend!”

To find out how you can get involved in our work visit our website.

Feature image: Andrew // ©Margaret Mitchell from ongoing work with Time for Change individuals