Opening doors for the homeless in Chelmsford


Homeless people know that the volunteers are unpaid and that they therefore help them not to gain any benefit but simply because they care.

What we gain

Our paid staff are at the core of our work for and with homeless people. We rely on them to provide services of high professional standard. They all bring skills and experience which are invaluable to those we support.

We also rely on a dedicated team of volunteers working alongside our paid staff. Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and bring completely different perspectives to the work we do. Some do things which might appear mundane, like sitting in the Night Shelter office when it is open during the day.

Some give us the free benefit of skills and knowledge gained in professional occupations. Some fill a number of different roles.

There is one very important attribute volunteers bring to the support of the homeless that paid staff cannot possibly match. Homeless people know that the volunteers are unpaid and that they therefore help them not to gain any benefit but simply because they care. When you expect to be rejected by "normal" people, it is encouraging and uplifting to know that some actually choose to be alongside you.

Sitting in the Night Shelter office may appear mundane but it is the relationship with our service users that is so valuable.

What you gain

Working with us as a volunteer will give you an insight into the problems of people you might not otherwise meet. You will soon discover that you are making a real difference to the lives of those on the margins of society. You may find yourself developing as a person as a result.

All volunteers working directly with homeless people will receive appropriate training and support.

What you need

Don't worry if you are thinking that working with the homeless is not for you. Most of us started out with the same misgivings. All you need is time to devote to it and a determination to give it a go.

Well, not quite. For legal reasons you do need to be over 18. You also need to live within reasonable distance of Chelmsford, so you can get to us. Because we deal with vulnerable people, you will be asked to undergo an enhanced CRB check.

We welcome volunteers from all ethnic backgrounds, cultures, faiths, genders and sexual orientations and of all ages from 18 upwards. You do not have to be able-bodied; one of our Lay Chaplains is on fined to a motorised wheelchair.

Your own speciality?

We don't know what other skills people may have to offer that we can make use of. Who would think that a graphic designer, for example, had anything to offer to a charity supporting the homeless? Well, who do you think designed our logo? It is possible that your skills may be just the ones we need on something we haven't thought about because we didn't know the skills were available. Why not contact us and find out?

How to volunteer

If you would like to offer your services as a volunteer, you can download out PDF application below, please complete and return to We will be delighted to hear from you.

volunteer application

Firms as volunteers

We are hoping to forge links with businesses and professional firms prepared to help us on a pro bono basis. We would dearly like such help from:

  • Accountants
  • Advertising agencies
  • Architects
  • Builders
  • Printers
  • Public relations consultants
  • Solicitors

If you can help in this way, please contact us on 01245 290553.