A day in the life of Ros - Volunteer Co-ordinator

Johannes Lenhard

Ros moved up to Cambridge originally for her husband – and she wasn’t exactly looking for a volunteering position to begin with, but a church: “I ended up at the Zionist’ Baptist church. That was at a time when Jimmy’s was still a night shelter. They took me on a tour downstairs and the week after or so, I started volunteering.”

That’s how Ros’ engagement with Jimmy’s started, over 15 years ago. She came to Jimmy’s regularly, on a fortnightly basis, as a volunteer. “I arrived around 10 or so and used to chat with the guests and then once everyone was going to bed I started doing the cleaning. And I slept on the sofa on site. They always needed someone just in case there was an emergency. It was quite different back then.”

She applied to the first job opening and despite her lack of ‘work experience’ in the sector was offered the job as support worker. That was 12 years ago. Ros quickly climbed up through the ranks to eventually reach the position she is in now: she is responsible for all matters volunteers and everyone knows who has ever been to Jimmy’s – that’s a very big task!

On a day to day basis, Ros’ work entails, naturally, meeting lots of volunteers. Normally, she really takes the time to get to know people and meets everyone one-on-one in person, mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. But that is not where her work ends: “I have to sort out all the registrations, the DBS checks, cancellations of people, the rota.” Most of her work now is really centred around making sure that there are always volunteers at hand to help with keeping Jimmy’s going.

In fact, Ros is so good at it, so friendly and welcoming, she seems to have become a listening ear to some of the volunteers she meets in person and on the phone: “They have experienced so many different things in their lives, you build up a relationships – I often become a listening ear for people. I feel privileged that people see something in me that makes them think: I feel okay and comfortable opening up to this person and talking.”

Ros is obviously mostly consumed by organisation and administration now but she still makes a point to chat with people: “When I go upstairs, I always try to have a chat with people. It is important to always have that connection with the residents.”