Currently on a gap year having recently finished school, Maryam has been a DIY Skills Adviser Volunteer at Shelter since November 2021. When not volunteering, she loves reading books, travelling, drawing and painting.
She wanted to take a short break from education and use the time to reconnect with herself and do things she loved and was passionate about. ‘One of the things I wanted to do was help people in need, offering my time and commitment.’
Maryam knew she wanted to volunteer and after doing some online research, discovered that her values and goals were aligned with those of Shelter’s. ‘Fighting to end homelessness was one of my top choices.’
Eager to work with like-minded people who understand that everyone has the fundamental right to a safe home, Maryam was keen to volunteer with us. ‘I also wanted to be part of an organisation whose purpose is to make society better.’
She feels very fortunate to be able to meet new people and develop her skill set. ‘I got very lucky, I found Shelter,’ she says.
Maryam’s role often involves visiting a client’s house with her supervisor Carys, and carrying out practical tasks such as; painting, gardening, building a bed, or putting up shelves. ‘We provide practical support whilst teaching them the skills to achieve that same result on their own.’
‘It’s really fun, you get to use your creative side and improve people’s homes.’
Sometimes Maryam organises and presents workshops too, which teach DIY home skills. She enjoys her role and loves the contribution it makes to people’s lives. ‘Each client has different needs, and we just try our best to satisfy those needs and give the best possible service.’
‘The smallest act of kindness can help turn their lives around.’
Maryam has met people going through hard times while volunteering but feels that her contribution is appreciated. ‘I feel like it’s very rewarding to let them know that they are not alone, and that we will continue to work hard to support them in any way we can.’
She has learned a lot while volunteering, getting out of her comfort zone, and developing greater communication, and problem-solving skills. ‘Getting to meet new people on a regular basis has improved my confidence.’
Teamwork is key too. Maryam and her supervisor found building a bed for a client challenging but working together as a team made the client very happy.
‘This volunteering role has opened my eyes to the housing emergency crisis.’
Visiting clients’ homes, she sees firsthand the difficult housing conditions that families are forced to live in. She is often shocked and can’t believe that families have been living in unsuitable conditions for sometimes nearly a decade.
Maryam believes her time with Shelter has been meaningful and life-changing and would encourage others to get involved too. ‘100%, I would recommend volunteering at Shelter.’