Nia's Streetworx Thoughts
Hi! I am Nia, and I am part of the Helping Our Homeless Society at Newcastle University. I volunteer because I love it! The homeless people really appreciate all the work that we do with Destiny Streetwork. Below is a bit about what we do and why I’m so passionate about it!
What do we do?
Every Saturday evening from 8pm til 10pm, we work alongside Destiny Streetworx handing out essentials for people who live on the streets. We give out food, clothes, toiletries, sleeping bags, hot drinks, hand warmers, sweets and chocolates. They are always extremely grateful for whatever we can give them, especially with the icy and snowy weather of Newcastle! A hot drink may seem very insignificant to you and me, but it can really make a difference to someone who lives on the streets.
Why should you get involved?
Being apart of the Helping Our Homeless society I have had the opportunity to make loads of friends including fellow students who are on completely different courses to myself, members of the local community and even with the homeless people themselves. There are many people out on the streets, some faces you see once or twice while others you see on a weekly basis. I got talking to a few of the homeless people in Newcastle, including James and Darren. James is a wonderful poet, and in a few weeks time he is performing some of his work at an open mic night, which some of the Destiny Streetworx volunteers are taking him to and staying to support his act. Darren is one of the homeless people that I have become particularly close to. Like myself, he is from Liverpool, and he grew up in a town not far from where I was raised. We share Scouse jokes, reminisce and share stories about Liverpool, which is nice as it makes us both feel a little bit more at home.
At Christmas, we ran a shoebox appeal alongside Destiny Streetworx. Many people were very generous and donated shoeboxes filled with necessities for the homeless people which we handed out over the festive period. I decided to make a shoebox for Darren to remind him of home. I put in a sleeping bag, toiletries, hand warmers, chocolates, and most importantly, a Liverpool Football Club Scarf! He was overjoyed with everything, especially the scarf, and it bought me so much happiness watching him open the shoebox, and seeing how much he loved and appreciated it, which reminded me why the work that we do is so important.
Going out on a Saturday evening only takes up 2-3 hours a week, which isn’t a lot of time in the grand scheme of things. It is also a very flexible programme, so you can come whenever you please and stay for as long as you can. Most people come on alternate weekends, but I go every week as I love it so much!
What have I learnt?
The main thing I have learnt from being in the society is that little things make a huge difference. Whether it is a pair of socks, some toiletries or even a smile, it means so much to our friends on the streets, and reminds them that they are still an important and valued members of our society