HOMELESS volunteers have given more than 1,000 hours of time, worth in excess of £6,000, to work within the community within the last 12 months.
A group of 27 volunteers, all clients from Chester Aid to the Homeless (CATH), have been involved in a variety of projects including beach clean-ups, gardening, painting and decorating offices and rooms for various charity and community groups as well as repairing buildings and putting up fences at a disabled riding centre in North Wales.
CATH’s education manager John Buchanan said: “It’s very easy to misunderstand homelessness and overlook the contribution many of our clients make as they try to sort out their lives.
“Being homeless doesn’t mean being hopeless – and our hard-working volunteers continue to prove that.
“It’s a win-win situation. Voluntary, charity and community groups are getting the skilled services – which they probably couldn’t afford to buy in – for free.
“At the same time, our volunteers are once again developing a sense of purpose and being of value to the community which, in turn, helps to rebuild self-esteem.”
The charity works closely with the Volunteer Centre Chester to match the needs of organisations with the skills of CATH clients.
Social Inclusion Worker Clare Harrison said: “We have a pool of talent to draw upon – and a large number of organisations looking for volunteers.
“The achievement of the CATH group shows just how well local organisations can work together to support each other.
“We estimate the CATH guys have done about 1,046 hours of voluntary work in the last year which, based on the minimum wage, is worth about £6,000.
“In real terms though it’s worth a lot more because these are talented men carrying out skilled work to a high standard.
“If the groups they volunteer for had to buy in those services it would cost a lot more.”