“The recovery college supports people who have now been approved for housing, in their rehabilitation. They offer cooking classes, tech workshops, art therapy, and creative writing.” - Beth

Spotlight on: Beth – St Mungo’s

It’s World Homeless Day 2019 today, so we touched base with Dot Dot Dot guardian, Beth, based in Oxford, to hear about her volunteering with homelessness charity St Mungo’s. With a vision to ensure that everyone has a place to call home, St Mungo’s provide direct support to people at risk of homelessness, and to those in recovery from sleeping rough. Running over 300 projects across London and the south of England, they are one of the largest providers of outreach services in the UK, and provide a bed and support to more than 2,800 people every night. 

Hear from Beth, on why she chose to volunteer with St Mungo’s, and how she’s been able to draw upon her skills to help people who’ve been affected by homelessness to rebuild their lives.

“Last month, I had my training to start volunteering with St Mungo’s. I’ll be working at the brand new recovery college opening in Reading, teaching a Creative Writing course to St Mungo’s clients. The college support people who have all previously been homeless or in difficult housing situations, and many of them will be in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.

I’m really excited to get started properly in October! I spent the first month of my guardianship searching for opportunities that would not only be something I truly believe in, but also give me the chance to use the talents I already have – like writing. I’m a children’s author by day, so it’s lovely to have this opportunity to teach Creative Writing to people who can truly use this course to channel their creativity into their recovery.

Homelessness is on the rise in UK cities, and that’s really quite clear where I live in Oxford. I admire the work St Mungo’s do because they take a recovery approach – meaning they work with people to ensure they have the life skills, security, and confidence to reintegrate into society and truly succeed. They also share the same values as me; believing that recovery can’t just be physical skills like writing a CV and learning to cook. While those things are important, I found it hugely inspiring to see a large national organisation recognise that creativity has a big impact on positive mental health. 

One challenge is that the recovery college isn’t yet set up, so we’re using a temporary space in the Salvation Army. It’s also a little bit of travel for me to get to Reading from Oxford, but St Mungo’s are very kindly reimbursing my travel costs and doing everything they can to make sure I get the most out of my volunteering.”

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can send an alert to StreetLink using their website or via their app. If you think the person you are concerned about is under 18, is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, call 999.