Imogen has been volunteering with Shelter Scotland since May last year. She studies English and Politics and enjoys skateboarding and photography in her spare time. She wanted to volunteer because of her difficult experiences of poor housing, including sofa surfing as a teenager, when she couldn’t live safely with her family. She says:

“It was a stressful situation that I feel opened my eyes at the time to how quickly a situation with bad housing could spiral.”

Imogen has also had experiences of poor housing conditions and landlord disputes. When asked why she first decided to volunteer for Shelter Scotland, she said:

“Being part of a movement that fights bad housing was the main reason behind wanting to volunteer with Shelter Scotland [and] I had heard about the impactful work they were doing within my own community.”

Imogen volunteers in a variety of ways with Shelter Scotland. She’s part of the Retail team in Stirling, where she supports shop operations in her role as a Volunteer Supervisor. She also has a Peer Volunteer role in Edinburgh. Based in the community, she takes photos of unsuitable accommodation, particularly temporary accommodation. She uses these photos on social media to raise awareness of housing issues.

Through volunteering, Imogen has learned a lot, particularly around situations relating to homelessness that are often incredibly nuanced and that there is a range of different scenarios that can encompass the term ‘homelessness’. She tells us:

“I’ve learned how to communicate with vulnerable people more effectively and also learned to be openminded about each individual’s housing situation”

She has also learned that “homelessness is more of a structural issue.”

Being part of Shelter Scotland for a year has given Imogen great opportunities to learn about our long-term goals and what she can do as a volunteer to engage with them. She has many standout moments from her time as a volunteer in particular “aiding vulnerable people [through] difficult housing situations”.

Imogen would like to emphasise that although it may be challenging at times, volunteering with Shelter Scotland is “definitely worth it!”