backstage and homeless…

Yesterday, after a particularly difficult day at work, (I don’t want to hear the words ‘Doctor’ or ‘Who’ for a while) I did my first session of volunteering in a homeless hostel run by St Mungos, after this I went to the Backstage get together run by the blogosphere’s newest superhero, Ben Metcalfe, which Lee described as ‘speed dating for geeks’. If so, all the lookers had paired off by the time I got there.. so I ended up with the ol’ familiar face of Jem Stone.

TheSt Mungo’s hostel on Southampton Row houses clients that have had to be moved their from other shelters for a variety of reasons such as serious problems with substance abuse or inappropriate conduct. It was challenging experience, as when I first arrived one resident was being attended to by the staff and the police as she was being disruptive, but I think they managed to calm her down and get her back safely to her room.

I had a brief induction and met the other two volunteers, then went upstairs to the common room. After introducing myself to the four or so people in the room, I played a game of pool with a quiet old Irish man named John, he thrashed me 2-0, and did a bit of a fiendish jigsaw with another client… In all it was an exposure to people most of us never see, or if we do we pass it by. I’m hoping the the new year to start some photography workshops, as the centre has two digital camera’s and some old PCs. In all it made a real refreshing but challenging change from the world of internetery too… So if you’re feeling charitable readers, why not donate to St Mungo’s or give volunteering a try…

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
December 2005
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