Reflecting on 50 years of St Mungo’s

Posted on the 1st June 2019

St Mungo’s began with volunteers in 1969. Fifty years later, the organisation has grown, but what has remained the same is the commitment of our volunteers as we work to end homelessness and rebuild lives.

My role as Head of Volunteering, Apprenticeships and Placements at St Mungo’s means that I am responsible for the involvement of volunteers across the organisation. As we look back on the past 50 years, I have reflected on the value of our volunteers: how much they give, the skills they bring with them and the new ones they learn.

They make a real difference, on a daily basis, to the lives of people experiencing homelessness. All of our volunteers, whatever their role, whether they have just joined us or are one of our long-standing volunteers, play a vital role in the fight to end homelessness.

With that in mind, it seemed fitting that, in our 50th year, we underwent our assessment for Investing in Volunteers (IiV), and we received our second accreditation since 2011. This felt particularly relevant as we reflect on half a century of St Mungo’s.

We involved our volunteers in our IiV development journey, and listening to their experiences of volunteering at St Mungo’s helped us to think critically about developing our organisational structures and support for involving volunteers. It was also great to hear volunteers’ positive feedback during the assessment at the end of our IiV journey.

We know volunteering makes a difference, but we also want our volunteers to feel that what they do matters. To hear a volunteer talk about, “the sense that we have made a difference, something changed because of something we did,” means that they understand the value of giving their time and are aware of what it means in the lives of the people we work with. One volunteer also said, “I love the way you are made to feel a part of the team, not a spare part.” It was fantastic to hear how valued they felt.

During Volunteers’ Week, we are shouting even louder about the value of our volunteers. Personally, there is no better part of my job than the opportunity to meet our volunteers, to understand their motivations and to thank them for everything they do. Like lots of organisations, we will be running events, giving out awards and celebrating the contributions and achievements of our volunteers. This year we will also be celebrating our re-accreditation of Investing in Volunteers, and we can’t wait.

Iver Morgan

Iver has been at St Mungo’s for 12 years. In his current role he oversees St Mungo’s 1400 volunteers, apprentices and students which support the organisation as they work to address the causes and consequences of homelessness.

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