About the opportunity
"His past means nothing to us; we’re only interested in his future. To accept people as they are, and not as they were. To forgive and forget." - Pat Egan (Bury Me in My Boots by Sally Trench)
The work in The Simon Community is carried out by volunteers and residents living and working together as a community. As a full time volunteer your working week is busy, absorbing and varied.
Our volunteers work both at our outreach services (soup runs, tea runs etc.) and are on hand to support residents who live in our community. Living and working with homeless people is not without challenges, but the experience is rewarding. Often volunteers apply because they are interested in working with homeless people but they lack the experience they need to get a job. One of our full time volunteers said recently:
"I have always been interested in working with homeless people and thought that volunteering full time would be a good way to get that experience. You learn a lot very quickly. Living and working with the residents immerses you into the culture of the community. I think it would have taken me a long time to learn this much in a 9-5 job!"
Though this is unpaid voluntary work, all living expenses (board, food, travel etc.) are provided and all bills paid in a Central London accommodation. Volunteers are entitled to time off away from the residential setting in a separate house. All you need to bring with you is your time and energy.
What should I expect?
To join in, work hard, have fun, learn fast and meet a lot of people! One of our volunteers shared his experience of how the reality differed from his expectations:
“I was really surprised to be staying in a proper house! I thought I was coming to a homeless hostel, that it would be quite chaotic and have loads of people there, but the house is like a proper home. Everyone contributes and works together in a positive communal setting”.
This is an ideal opportunity particularly for people who have studied social sciences, psychology, philosophy etc. and wish to pursue careers in the fields of psychology, social work, charity sector and other related jobs.
How do I know if I will like the work?
If you are interested, you can email us to request an application form. If this is satisfactory we will arrange for you to visit the Community for 72 hours, so we can meet you and you can join in the work of the Community. During this time, you will have a short interview.
You must be willing to participate in community life and have empathy for others. You don't need to have prior experience, qualifications or any religious beliefs to join our community.
In order to apply you will need to be able to travel to London for the 72 hour visit and make the journey back again if you are successful.
What is the minimum commitment?
We would like full-time volunteers to commit to work and live in the Community for a period of 12 months. However for some people this may be difficult and so we may consider shorter periods of time.