Peter has been volunteering with us for four years and is a regular fixture in the CENS kitchen. Here, he explains why he enjoys volunteering, and shares his thoughts on the benefits and the positive experiences he has had.

I came across CENS when I worked at the Jobcentre, and decided to volunteer three or four years ago, when I wanted to widen my horizons a bit. 

I am mainly in the kitchen preparing the evening meal. To be honest, spending a few hours a week doing a bit of cooking and chatting to everyone is no big deal. I do sometimes worry that the evening meal won’t be up to scratch, but I’ve had no complaints so far!

The residents at CENS come from all sorts of backgrounds and all have different back stories. I like the way that the staff take the time to get to know the individual people behind the circumstances. The barriers homeless people come up against are massive and the staff work really hard to help their residents overcome them. I have also met quite a few ex residents who call in now and again to keep in touch, which is really nice.

Volunteering work is good for the community, but it is rewarding on a personal level too. I have met some great people and it’s nice to think that you might, even in a small way, have made someone’s life a bit easier. I have realised that if you want to change something, you have to educate yourself about it first. 

If I were to offer advice to anyone considering volunteering, I would say to view it as a win-win situation.