Helping to run a homeless centre in Acton
Acton Homeless Concern is a drop-in day center for people who are homeless or in disadvantaged situations. XL Catlin has supported the charity for a number of years through its Global Day of Giving initiative. The relationship with the organization first came about from seeing an advert in a local paper, followed by a phone call asking if the center needed volunteers for a day. John Leonard, the Project Leader had also heard positive things from friends who had volunteered with the organization in the past.
The Global Day of Giving volunteer team assists with the delivery of food, performing odd jobs, and preparing and serving lunch to around 150 people who attend. Afterwards the team helps to wash up and clean the center.
The center is a busy one, estimating that 1000 people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds use its facilities every week. Its mission is to provide a caring and safe environment for the poor, the marginalized and those who suffer from isolation or are in any kind of need.
John believes the relationship has really flourished over the years. Interest in the project has consistently grown, with the number of volunteers for the most recent Global Day of Giving exceeding the number of volunteers requested.
“Year on year we achieve a real ‘feel-good’ sense of warmth at the end of the day,” says John. “We feel as if we’ve really made a difference in helping people who, because of just a few wrong turns in life, have ended up on the street.”
“As a Project Leader I’ve gained many things – confidence, team work, organizational skills, and the opportunity to get to know my fellow colleagues better,” he adds. “And the experience also makes all of us take a step back and appreciate what we have, rather than taking it for granted.”