Simon is a community of homeless people and volunteers living and working together in a spirit of acceptance, tolerance and understanding.
We exist as a community to reach out to, support and campaign for people who are homeless or rootless, and particularly those for whom no other provision exists.
For over 40 years the Simon Community has worked to alleviate the isolation of rough sleepers, provide a place where they can gain a sense of belonging and foster the skills they need to move towards independant living.
Nearly all of the work in The Simon Community is carried out by volunteers, who co-ordinate and run our residential and outreach work. Full-time volunteers live in our house with our residents, sharing their mutual strengths and weaknesses and creating a unique atmosphere of love acceptance. This is not easy to sustain, but for many of our residents it may be the first time in their lives they have been respected and have somewhere they can belong. We encourage change without aiming to 'rehabilitate'.
Apart from our Community Manager, we have no professional staff in our houses and rely entirely on volunteers as we believe the commitment, energy, patience and courage they bring is an essential part of the success of our work with some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
What do I need to be a full-time volunteer?
Full-time volunteers need to be at least 19 years old, preferably with a driving licence.
What is the minimum commitment?
We prefer full-time volunteers to commit to stay for at least 6 months. There is no maximum, but in practice no-one usually stays longer than three years.
What about pay and time off?
You live in, and get £38 a week pocket money with food, board, all other basic necessities provided. You have two days off each week, plus money for two weeks off every three months. In addition, some money is saved up for you, for when you leave. We have a house for our workers to stay in on their days off or when they have other leave.
How do I know if I will like the work?
You need to complete a Worker Application Form. If it is satisfactory, we will arrange for you to visit the Community for 48 hours, so we can meet you and you can see what we do.
How do I join?
Your application will be discussed at the Community Meeting following your visit. The meeting will then decide which applicants are successful. Their decision is based on the information provided on your application form and the feedback from the community members you meet with/have a telephone interview with. We then contact you with our decision.
Do you have a particular skill you would like to share with The Simon Community and a few hours to spare? We are always looking for additional help in areas such as accountancy, administration, marketing, PR, fundraising and training. Get in touch with us to discuss your interests.
What can I get out of it?
- Time spent with us is regarded as excellent experience by employers and is invaluable for those studying in related fields;
- Training is given and there is the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills;
- Learning - an in depth understanding of the issues around homelessness, and connected social issues;
- The satisfaction of helping some of the most needy people;
- Meeting new people and being in a unique environment.
Here is a quote from a worker which illustrates what you might get out of your time with us:
“I have been living and working in the Simon Community for six months and have just extended my time to a year because I realise what an exceptional organisation the Simon Community is. It allows me to look at people as human beings, instead of a ‘client group’, and getting to know them as individuals, rather than statistics. I believe that giving to others should be a way of life – not a job, and the Simon Community makes this possible. I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to think for myself, making it possible to contribute productively to our developing projects. I’d recommend this project to all those people who are willing to put in hard work to really make a difference.”
Part-time volunteers (Co-workers)
Part-time volunteers do not live in Simon houses. Many of our ex-residents and ex-workers are active co-workers. Co-workers can be around far longer than workers and so provide vital continuity. They are involved in most aspects of the Community, be it streetwork, tea-runs, street café, helping out in the houses, night cover, driving, office work, campaigning or using any other skills they have to help our work. We welcome the fact that co-workers see Simon from a different perspective than the people who live here full-time. They are essential to us for the delivery of our services and serve a vital function in keeping us in touch with the outside world.
What is the minimum commitment?
We don't have a rule as such, but in practice it's a good idea to make a regular commitmentnof at least once every two weeks. Our main needs are in the evenings, but we also need help at other times, including overnight.
What about expenses?
We pay all authorised expenses including travel. Meals are also provided when you come to our house.
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