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A volunteer story

Many of the clients we support face daily struggles with their mental health. Our staff are well trained and experienced to ensure we are meeting clients’ immediate needs and working with other specialist services to ensure the client has access to as many support options as possible. 

Julian House provides a high support housing project in Bath, with 10 beds for adults with a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Autism and Asperger’s). The project has a dedicated support team whose work is backed by a small team of dedicated volunteers. We spoke to Abby, who has been volunteering at the project in Henrietta Street for many years about what an average session includes. 

What does the average volunteering session at Henrietta Street involve?

When I get there I greet the residents, chat to the staff and find out what the meal is and how many people are eating. Then I cook the dinner, sometimes helped by one of the residents. A few examples of the meals I cook are: chicken korma, roast dinner and tuna pasta bake. During cooking I usually chat to a few of the more talkative residents which I really enjoy. After dishing up I wash and clear up. 

How long have you volunteered at HS and how often?

I have volunteered at Henrietta Street for about 3 years, once a week on a Tuesday.

What motivated you to start volunteering specifically at Henrietta Street?

Growing up near London, I often saw people on the streets and felt incredibly sad. I wished I could do something to help. When I moved to Bath I heard a lot about the fantastic work that Julian house did and knew I wanted to be a part of that. I’ve worked in education for years and am passionate about supporting children with special needs. I sometimes worry about the children we support lacking that support in adulthood so the idea of volunteering at a place specifically supporting adults with autism really appealed to me.

What do you find most rewarding?

Chatting to the residents while I cook- they all have different passions and interests and I feel I learn something new every week whether it’s about football, politics, airsoft or film! I really enjoy getting to know them and it’s lovely when they get involved with the cooking.

How do you find the time whilst working full-time?

It’s definitely a challenge! I have to be very quick leaving work to not get stuck in traffic. The staff there are really supportive and know I run a little late sometimes but will get everything ready and sometimes pre cook anything that will take longer. Although it can be stressful, I love that one day a week I leave work early and go and do something completely different that helps other people and makes a difference.

If you are interested in volunteering we have loads of roles available, take a look here.