Start As You Mean To Go On!!
Hi all my name is Mia Rainey. I am a pharmacy assistant and I have been a volunteer and fundraiser for a long time with a group of friends. A chance conversation however, with Donna Thomas on the school run one day took volunteering to a whole new level. Donna explained that they were trying to put a group together to start a foot health day for the homeless in Cardiff. I was very interested in helping the homeless so I went along to a talk Donna was given at Ystradgynlais Community Hospital and was so inspired by her I joined the group.
On our first official foot health day in Cardiff in October 2018 I did not know what to expect, it was an eyeopener and I had to work out quickly where my place within this team was. However, there was no time to think as a voice shouted "If you're not doing anything make the teas and coffees" that was when I first met Julie from "Hope for the Homeless".
The attitudes from the general public towards the homeless were not good or towards us for helping them. However, attitudes began to change once BBC Wales did a report on the homeless in Cardiff people then started to approach us and ask how could they help. The nurses do a fab job and our volunteers from all walks of life bring something special to the group in their own unique way even those who can't be out physically with us.
In my job as a pharmacy assistant I gained consent from the company to set up a sock collection point for the homeless which many people donated to. They also brought clothes, blankets, sleeping bags and hygiene items. I also set up fundraisers like name the bear in the chemist and have had many conversation raising awareness in just what we do out there. I stand with Donna on all of her fundraising events to give support and champion others efforts wholeheartedly. As a keen crafter I often turn my hand to items such as key rings which bring in cash to the pot.
Out on the street I connect well with people and I spend time with them bringing down their barriers so they feel they can trust me. I have the unique ability to quickly read a persons character and often find myself putting items together for them to help make things a little easier for them. I am a keen photographer and try to capture the mood and environment within the photo.
I myself am proud of what we have achieved so far and proud to wear my Homeless Hope tee-shirt . We meet some characters along the way and I think we all have our favourites we look out for. Moving on from Cardiff I also volunteered to help in Newport alongside the fabulous group HCT (Helping Caring Team) led by Hayley Thomas who also do an amazing job looking after the homeless and vulnerable in Newport.
Volunteering with Homeless Hope is rewarding, heartbreaking and frustrating in equal measures. Rewarding when you speak to a person who through some advice has accessed the help they need. Heartbreaking when they open up and tell you their stories. Frustrating that the government don't do near enough to help and support them.