We have some lovely people who volunteer at Ben's. They bring such a rich and diverse mix to us and our clients. You may see some of them on our staff board but we thought we would just tell you a little about the ones we have at the moment and maybe it may get you thinking that you would like to come and volunteer with us. Paul is our longest volunteer here. As we have mentioned before Paul is an amazing artist and has drawn a good number of our clients. He is incredibly versatile and will put his hand to anything in the centre that needs doing. He has created food cupboards and done no end of really practical jobs for us. Only on Tuesday a light had gone out in the Ladies Loo and he popped out to buy a starter switch for it and got it working. He also is a very good sounding board for the staff to talk things through with. He rarely misses a day and has become a greatly loved and valued volunteer and now a Trustee.

Hilary has been volunteering with us for quite a while. She is a real gem as what ever you ask her to do she is so willing to do it and not only that, but does it so well. As I have mentioned before our clothing store is an incredible resource and it is a joy to behold. This is mainly due to Hilary’s hard work and methodically putting everything in a neat and accessible order. Hilary always comes in with something that she knows we need and will be used in Ben's. Her commitment to the centre is amazing and so appreciated.

Janet is a deaconess at a local church and has been volunteering with us for a while. She is another faithful one who finds time in her very busy schedule to help us. Often she brings some visitor with her to show them what we are doing! She, like Paul, is very consistent and brings her love of sport to the centre. She also is a whiz at doing crosswords.

Phillip is a student and has been a delight to the centre. He has become very quickly a part of our family here. He is getting quite good at pool, although some of the clients may disagree! He is bravely running the half-marathon and giving all the proceeds to Ben's. So anyone who would like to encourage Phil, and us, please go onto the “Just Giving” part of the blog. We shall miss him when he leaves in May to pursue his studies further in Australia!

Teresa is a fairly new volunteer. It’s been lovely to have her join the team. She is incredibly willing to help and like Phil her pool skills are improving every week. Teresa is an amazing cleaner and the centre sparkles when she has been in! Her gentleness with the clients and willingness to listen is appreciated.

Mary is our latest volunteer. Mary is coming in twice a week to encourage the clients to do art work. She comes with a lot of life experience and we know will become a real asset to Ben's. It’s also good for Paul and Sue to have someone in their age group! Perhaps Wendy will have to put the Stanner lift in now!

As a charity we always want willing and able volunteers. We really value the input our volunteers make to the centre. If you would ask us what makes a good volunteer, like the ones we have talked about, we would immediately say consistency. Knowing your volunteer is going to turn up regularly is such an enormous help. It also is invaluable in helping our clients to get to know them and for relationships to be established. The second thing we would say is being flexible. By this we mean that they are willing to do what is needed to be done in the project. This is an incredible help to our staff team here. Never knowing what each day will bring, it is so good to know that we can ask a volunteer to step in and do something quickly that is needed. It is not an easy place to volunteer and although we take it in our stride in dealing with chaotic street drinkers, they can be overwhelming at first. It’s important for volunteers to know that our strap line of Ben's Centre ‘a place of stability for street drinkers in Sheffield’ also means that we have a place of safety for staff and volunteers to work in too. We always talk through, and show our volunteers our different procedures that are in place for our safety and our client’s safety too. We also encourage them to do any training that is suitable. Also on our team away days they are always included, as we see them as valuable people in our team.

Our volunteers are so appreciated but we do need more. Please would you consider volunteering with us? We know it can be quite demanding but it can also be very rewarding and great fun at times too. If you are interested then please do give us a ring and you can see in person what we are all about. You never know this may be the opportunity you have been waiting for!