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Volunteering at the 365 Shelter with Caring in Bristol

In early October, members of the Galliford Try-Assembly Bristol team volunteered at Caring in Bristol’s 365 Shelter. Caring in Bristol works in imaginative and creative ways with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, with the public and community partners to bring about lasting change in Bristol and beyond. The 365 Shelter offers a safe alternative to a night on the streets to up to fifteen people who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

Sam Grimbaldeston, Senior Site Manager, volunteered with Anthony Horton, Design Manager, gives an account of his experience.

“Caring in Bristol provided us with a Tool Box Talk about the charity in July 2019 and it opened our eyes to see many of the reasons people become homeless. As a company we agreed to supply volunteer GT staff to the night shelter for the whole week.

We sent two staff every night for a week to do one night each. We were partnered up with an experienced volunteer for the night. We had to attend an induction a week before our volunteering to go through the schedule of what happens on a normal night. This includes, for example, ticking people off the list when they arrive (only individuals on the list were allowed to stay the night), and taking background information regarding the individuals staying. On the night, we greeted guests, made them tea and coffee, talked to them and made them feel comfortable. At the end of the night shift, we were required to write a brief note of anything that happened on our shift, and make a note of any people or problems so that volunteers on the next night shift would be aware of any issues.

We had an excellent time with the guests, who on the whole were polite, friendly and very grateful to us for giving up our own time to help people who are less fortunate. At around 11.30pm we bedded down for the night in the hallway to get some rest ourselves. We were woken in the night by a very loud banging noise on the front door at 3am. After a few minutes the banging stopped and we prepared to go to back to sleep. Around 10 minutes later we were woken by again, up by the noise of a brick being thrown through the kitchen window. Before we could get out of bed, a man climbed through the window and started walking around in the kitchen on the broken glass. We called the police who arrived within five minutes and arrested him. After we gave our statements to the police, we tried to get some sleep before getting up to serve tea and coffee to the guests, and clean the hall before the building’s users arrived at 7.30am.

While that particular incident is not one I will forget in a hurry, the whole experience was a worthwhile and humbling one, to see how ”

Galliford Try-Assembly Bristol team members who also volunteered that week were Alex Quinn, Trainee Quantity Surveyor; Ashley Milton, Assistant Design Manager; and Darren Allen, Building Services Manager.

Photo: Caring in Bristol.

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