Companions’ youth group launches
The Young Companions is made up of the younger members of the Companions (predominantly those aged 18-35 years). As a group they have already been particularly active in supporting the various Companions projects in London, especially since the Covid outbreak, and over the summer when many other volunteers are on holiday. They will meet informally every couple of months. There will be some projects leading up to Christmas eg. Decorating Christmas trees in the Care homes, packing Christmas parcels for the homeless that are distributed at the Companions’ projects across the country. But also some social events throughout the year. An opportunity for the young volunteers to meet each other from the different projects. All Young Companions will be volunteers from the Companion projects.
“I began volunteering for the Companions at the beginning of the year, with Covid still very much at its peak. Despite the obvious challenges, I was immediately impressed by the measures put in place to ensure help could still reach London’s homeless. For the first few months, I helped at the Donation Hub at Brompton Oratory, preparing orders to go out to various accommodations in central London. These orders ranged from toiletries to clothes to books, which I would then drive and drop off. For the past months I have been helping at the soup kitchen in Spanish Place, Marylebone. It has been fantastic to see the same faces coming back week after week for an evening meal, a chat and a few provisions. It has been special to play a small part of this terrific project alongside so many others. I am grateful for the wonderful atmosphere created at both the Hub and the soup kitchen and I look forward to continue helping much more in the future.”
“I have been volunteering at the Companions Cafe soup kitchen for a number of years, thanks to an introduction through a friend after I moved to London. Quite simply, it’s fun, and has been a great way to meet amazing, kind and like-minded friends. It has always been a wonderfully enriching use of my time, but never has it felt more needed than this past year. At the Companions Cafe we welcome many guests on a weekly basis who have a need for rest, refreshment, food and new clothing. However, above all I have noticed that there is something we all, volunteers and guests alike, have needed this past year – that is kindness, company and a feeling of community. I have seen this in such abundance from my fellow volunteers and from our guests, all of whom have been an inspiration to me, both before and throughout the pandemic. I continue to spend time volunteering at this special project because I truly believe that the organisers and volunteers whom I work alongside have created much more than a hot meal and a place to sit down. What they have created is community, confirmation of the dignity of all, a room full of love and a place where people feel like they belong.”