Groups – which WHC services to help with

Within our volunteer management system, each WHC service (for example Tue-Wed shelter (Oakley Hall) or Support Centre) is referred to as a group. Volunteers can choose to join one or more groups, taking on as many or as few shifts as desired.

Shelter

Our night shelter is organised by night of the week. The shelter runs during January to March for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, providing both safety and the chance to work with WHC staff on longer-term solutions. Volunteers act as hosts and cooks.

Admin or events etc

Volunteers who give vital background help in the WHC office, at events, at speaking engagements or in similar ways should tick this group. We need more help to staff stalls or provide stewarding at occasional events. WHC staff should choose this group.

Legal Drop-In

Most Thursday afternoons we run a Legal Drop-In for our clients facing homelessness, helping them to challenge unfair evictions. It alternates between our Castle Street office and a location in Chesham. Volunteers handle administrative tasks such as initial discussions and the scanning of documents, so that our specialist staff can help people as quickly as possible.

Plug-In

April to December, on Monday and Thursday evenings we offer people sleeping rough a chance to have refreshments, to charge phones, do laundry, and have a shower. Volunteers act as hosts.

Support Centre

Every weekday morning we run an advice and support session in our Castle Street office for individuals who are homeless or at risk. Guests get help with a wide range of issues, such as benefits, health or form-filling. Volunteers help with straightforward aspects of support allowing staff to deal with more complex issues.

WHC volunteer roles

Information about all roles

For all volunteer roles at WHC, training is required on important skills and procedures, so that we can run our sessions safely and efficiently and do the best we can for our guests.

Each role is described below. In your application to volunteer at WHC, please indicate in the “roles offered” section all roles which you are willing and qualified to undertake.

When you come to offer actual shifts, if you are able to offer multiple roles for a particular shift (eg shift assistant, cook etc), offer them all and the shift planner will assign you to the most useful role for that shift.

You will be reminded periodically to offer shifts for the period ahead. We absolutely rely on people to manage their availability using our database and to show up as planned as far as possible. This is important so that each shift team can run its session safely and effectively.

Venues have different levels of accessibility, and our volunteer roles require different levels of capacity. To discuss these aspects, please contact [email protected].

Click on a specific role to learn more:

Shift Assistant (hosting at shelter etc)

Shift Assistant (advice services)

Shift Leader

Cook

Assistant Cook

Shelter laundry

Help with events

Speaking about WHC

Prayer support

Office administration

Volunteer management



Shift Assistant (hosting at shelter etc)

WHC runs an emergency night shelter during January to March for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, providing both safety and the chance to work with WHC staff on longer-term solutions. Outside these months, on Monday and Thursday evenings WHC offers people sleeping rough a chance to have refreshments, charge phones, do laundry, and have a shower. With a briefing and ongoing guidance from the shift leader, also a volunteer, shift assistants at these events act as hosts, providing a welcome and treating people with dignity and respect.

At each shelter venue, the evening shift includes setting up, a meal with our guests, and social time. Some venues provide laundry and showers. Overnight shift assistants ensure our twelve guests sleep safely; these volunteers usually sleep for three to four hours. After waking up our guests, morning volunteers set up and eat breakfast with our guests. These volunteers need to be physically fit enough to assist with cleaning and packing away of shelter beds and equipment and ensuring that the venue, including showers, toilets and kitchen, is left clean. The shelter runs in various church premises in central Wycombe.

Required skills are reliability, good communication and listening skills, empathy, and patience.

Please consider offering an occasional night shift.



Shift Assistant (advice services)

Every weekday morning we run an advice and support session in our Castle Street office for individuals who are homeless or at risk. In addition, every week we run a Legal Drop-In for clients facing homelessness, alternating between our office and a location in Chesham. Volunteers work with WHC staff by taking on the more straightforward support tasks, for example form-filling, and providing a warm and supportive atmosphere. They work under the direct supervision of a shift leader, also a volunteer. Volunteers ideally give one morning each week or fortnight, or one Thursday afternoon each week or fortnight, attending for the entire session. Volunteers sign a confidentiality document and attend appropriate training.

Required skills are confidence, a caring manner, and good listening skills. Basic computer skills are essential and a pleasant telephone manner would be very helpful in this role, as well as patience and an eye for detail.



Shift Leader

Shift leaders are experienced volunteers who have taken special training and been approved by WHC to lead the shift. Shift leaders carry out a briefing at the start of the shift, allocate roles to volunteers and manage the operation, ensuring the session runs safely and smoothly. They oversee setting up or clearing up as appropriate, and would lead on evacuation if necessary.

Required skills are the ability to take responsibility and form an overview of a situation, confidence in using a computer and calmness in a crisis. Shift leaders need to be approachable, supportive of others and willing to help others develop their skills and competence.

Our Support Centre opens weekday mornings in our Castle Street office. Legal Drop-In sessions run on Thursday afternoons, alternating between the WHC office and a Chesham location. During January to March, our night shelter has evening, night and morning shifts in various town centre church premises. Outside these months our rough sleeper support service runs two evening per week, also in central church premises.

You can select this role if you are already an approved shift leader or would like to be considered for the role.



Cook

WHC runs an emergency night shelter during January to March for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, providing both safety and the chance to work with WHC staff on longer-term solutions. Outside these months, on Monday and Thursday evenings WHC offers people sleeping rough a chance to have refreshments, to charge phones, do laundry, and have a shower.

At these sessions, sharing food is an important way to make people feel valued. Cooks plan menus and quantities, obtain ingredients (expenses are reimbursed) and produce a meal, aided by their assistant. Afterwards, they clear up, possibly helped by other volunteers. Shelter evening cooks arrive as close to 6pm as possible. They prepare two courses and a vegetarian option to be served to about 22 people as soon after 8pm as possible. Shelter morning cooks arrive as close to 6:45am as possible. They prepare a cooked breakfast to be served for about 18 people around 7:30am. These sessions take place in various church premises in central Wycombe.

Required skills:  Cooks should be confident in cooking nutritiously and economically for the required number of people within the required timeframe. (Some food may be cooked off-site). Cooks should hold a Level 2 Food Hygiene certificate, or be prepared to train in person or on line to achieve one.

Note: Monday evening and Tuesday morning shelter cooks will be asked to prepare solely vegetarian meals.



Assistant Cook

WHC runs an emergency night shelter during January to March for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, providing both safety and an opportunity for guests to work with WHC staff on longer-term solutions. Assistant cooks help to prepare, produce, serve and clear up a meal for about 20 people, either during the evening or at breakfast. These sessions take place in various church premises in central Wycombe.

Required skills are an interest in food production, and practical experience in the kitchen. A level 2 Food Hygiene certificate is helpful.



Shelter laundry

Volunteers launder bedding week by week to ensure our guests have a comfortable night.

Required skills are the ability to pick up, launder and deliver bedding to a shelter venue (a town centre church).



Help with events

WHC's funding relies on community support, and this comes partly in the form of events run locally from time to time by ourselves or others. Volunteers set up and staff our stalls, providing information about the charity; they help to run quiz nights; they help with stewarding at fun runs or our own Big Sleepout.

Required skills are flexibility, friendliness and in some cases the ability to handle equipment.



Speaking about WHC

WHC’s funding relies on community support, and so we are frequently invited to speak to groups, clubs, schools and churches about homelessness and the charity. Our volunteer speakers each take a handful of events each year.

Requires skills are the willingness to learn about the topic and confidence presenting engagingly to groups, in some cases using slides from a laptop.



Prayer support

We serve guests of any faith or none. But WHC is a Christian charity, and we value prayer for our guests, staff and volunteers, all of whom face difficult situations. Volunteers who offer to pray for WHC’s work will receive occasional information so that they can pray knowledgeably about current issues.



Office administration

We rely on committed admin volunteers in our Castle Street office so that our charity can be as effective as possible in fighting homelessness. Volunteers receive special training and serve a minimum of one morning or afternon per week.

Required skills are a friendly, can-do attitude, good computer skills, confidence answering the phone, handling personal data and doing general administrative work.



Volunteer management

This option is for WHC staff, Group Leaders and the like.