Volunteering at Life Share
I met my partner, Anna, back in 2019 BP (Before Pandemic). Amongst the many things I found attractive about Anna was her love for helping other people. As I got to know her better, she told me about a homeless breakfast project she volunteered at called Life Share. It intrigued me, seeing her get up at 5.30am on Saturday mornings, throw on her branded hoody and drive into Manchester city centre to help out. Homelessness has always made me very sad. In the past, I have raised money for Shelter and sometimes I buy food for the guy sat outside the local supermarket, but I’ve always wondered if I could do more. After a few months watching Anna, I asked if I could get involved.
On my first homeless project shift, we were under a tent in Piccadilly Gardens with 4 other volunteers. We were serving bacon, sausage and veggie sandwiches and a hot drink. I was given the job of tea-boy – tasked with keeping up with the frequent shouts of “tea-three” or “coffee-four” from Barry, the project coordinator. It was stressful, but felt good. Since then, we have progressed from a tent to four walls in a rented café in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Sandwiches have been upgraded to a full English breakfast – and other options include porridge, cereal and crumpets. A bag of snacks and water is provided for the clients to take away with them.
I have learnt a lot about homelessness working on the project. My biggest surprise when talking to some of the regular clients is that although they’re not happy with their situation, many of them have accepted it and developed a support system around them. Some even say they are more comfortable on the street than being put up in accommodation. Of course, this is not the forum to get into the socio-political drivers and solutions, but volunteering has certainly opened my eyes to the nuances.
How does this relate to Just Bee? Well, we have decided to donate some of our honey to Life Share and its partners. So far we have donated around 1,000 pots and will continue to do so. It’s really great to see a client putting Just Bee into their porridge and enjoying it. If you would like to learn more about Life Share, please visit www.lifeshare.org.uk