Ian started volunteering with Shelter Scotland in 2014 while running his health-related business, and has continued since retirement in 2017. He usually does 2 shifts of volunteering a week for around 3 hours per session, and he likes to split his volunteer time between the office in Glasgow and his home. Outside of volunteering, Ian’s main passions are golfing and spending time with his 6 granddaughters, as well as helping at his local church and food bank.
In 2014, as Ian was starting to think about his retirement plans and after helping on a project in Malawi, he decided to start volunteering on his return home.
It made me realise that I wanted to give something back.
At that stage, Ian didn’t know exactly what kind of volunteering he wanted to do, but he knew that he wanted it to involve helping people of all ages. After meeting two Shelter Scotland fundraising volunteers, he enquired about volunteering opportunities. Soon afterwards, Ian met with the Shelter Scotland volunteer coordinator, and they discussed his career, knowledge and skills.
Ian was asked if he would be interested in volunteering for the pilot project of a new online advice service which would signpost people to further information online and help take pressure off the busy helpline. The project has since progressed from being a signposting service to offering online advice.
Ian enjoys the challenge of his role and the feeling that he is helping people who don't know about their housing rights, as well as learning about the issues people face.
I’ve learned a lot about homelessness and housing issues. Volunteering gives me a lot of self-satisfaction and purpose. I feel like I’m contributing something.
Through his volunteering role, Ian helps people online with tenancy issues, such as eviction, disrepair and harassment. He has been impressed by the respect shown by Shelter Scotland staff towards both clients and volunteers which, he says, contrasts with his experience of the business world. He has also learned so much about the work Shelter Scotland does. Before volunteering, he thought Shelter Scotland only helped people with lived experience of homelessness but now he appreciates that the charity offers so much more than that.
Shelter Scotland is a charity doing essential work supporting people who are disadvantaged and sadly forgotten or ignored by society and in particular by short-term politicians. Without Shelter Scotland there would be a whole sector of society swept underneath the carpet.
Ian always feels valued as a volunteer with Shelter Scotland and he recommends volunteering to others.
I would encourage anyone to volunteer with Shelter Scotland. It gives a sense of worth and achievement.