When I volunteered at the soup kitchen, I was expecting a dingy looking room with people queuing up to receive exactly that, a bowl of soup, and not much else… the reality was very different – a dignified sit down two course meal (Sausage, mash and salad, with vegetarian sausages for those who wanted them, and a chocolate pudding and custard). The guests were all very appreciative of the meal and us being there, and it was great to chat to some of them about their life stories and share some of their good and bad times. I felt I could learn a lot by listening to them, and it also taught me that anyone can end up homeless regardless of their background or past. I felt very humbled to be there and would recommend it to anyone who wants to help out – give a bit and you get so much more back!

 Helen Stanford on her first soup kitchen volunteering experience at St Mary’s and St Peter’s Church