Volunteering Horsham Ark charity ‘a privilege’

Some of the Ark family with Mandy Jones, thrid from right, and Danny Bean far right - Photo by Derek  Martin
Some of the Ark family with Mandy Jones, thrid from right, and Danny Bean far right - Photo by Derek Martin

Volunteering for any charity can be a rewarding experience and helping the The Ark is no different.

There are many ways to help at the charity from chatting and listening to giving specific training in finance management, literacy or numeracy.

People coming to the Ark are from all walks of life and may also need specialist help with drug or alcohol rehabilitation, encouragement to help to raise their self esteem, give them self worth to enable them to move on with their lives.

Mandy Jones has been there from the start three years ago and is at the drop in at Horsham United Reformed Church most days providing a listening ear and company for anyone in need.

She said: “The reason I volunteered was because of my faith and I saw there was an opportunity in Ark. I think it’s invaluable. It’s rewarding because you see people come in at their worst and you are privileged to be part of their journey to get further on so they are in a better place.

“Then you have got people coming for just a chat. People become like a family to you.”

Volunteering at Ark has not only given people opportunity to help others expand their experience and qualifications.

Mandy said: “Whilst I’ve been here I’ve been put through my NVQ Level 3 in Advice and Guidance which has enabled me to help individuals more specifically.

“I can help people with benefits applications, refer them to other agencies. It’s befriending and just spending time with them where they are (in their life) and chatting.”

Mandy said their is an opportunity for everyone. In the lead up to Christmas the Ark family will be making Christmas cards and crafts as well.

“Even if you are not confident talking to people - I was so out of my comfort zone when I came. I came to visit and I haven’t stopped coming since.”

Others bring their experience of being in similar situations. Danny Bean, 32, has been volunteering at the group since July and uses his story to bring hope to others.

“I used to use services like these for myself. I’ve been homeless in the past and I was on drugs and alcohol for 14 years. I was 15 when I started drinking and trying drugs and heroin and coke by the time I was 21. I did everything to excess.

“Through using places like this I got help and I’ve not been drinking for four years now.

“I can get a glimpse of where they are coming from because I have been through it.”

Anyone who would like more information on how they can help at Ark throughout the year can contact charity director Lisa Burrell whose contact details are in the panel on the right.

The charity is always grateful for financial donations or gifts of non-perishable food for their drop in sessions three days a week.