Transforming lives through offering food, shelter, hope and support to the most vulnerable in our community

Queens Award

Volunteer Story - John G

John has been volunteering for such a long time that no one can quite remember when he started with us (including John himself!). What is clear is that he has been a vital part of providing hot food to the homeless community over the many years. This is his story.....

" I first heard about the Wild Goose drop-in centre years ago in the parish church small group which my wife Julia and I attended. We wanted as a group to be involved in a practical and useful way in Bristol. Chris who was leading the group spoke to Anni Davey (then Chair of the Trustees) who arranged for us to spend an evening in the Goose. That was the old tiny cramped cafe in City Road back then. We agreed to an evening shift once a month. All we had to do was to turn up and be useful, that was quite challenging enough. After a while the duty manager had changed several times and then there was no one to take over. I, with trepidation agreed to do so when asked. The current Goose is a much better place in so many ways.

As a duty manager, one has responsibility for the evening and safety for both volunteers and those who come through the door. The two teams where I am DM work well and get on together. There is quite a lot to do before we open, when everything is ready we dedicate the evening to the Lord and pray for a peaceful evening. I like to spend time greeting those who come in, usually a big rush at 8pm, and then walk through the kitchen to see if everyone is ok. When things calm down there is sometimes the opportunity to listen and chat with those who come in. However there are always lots of things to get sorted. At the end of the evening there is all the tidying and cleaning.

I cannot remember how long ago I started, but it was in the old Goose. This year I am 70 and getting creaky in the joints so I have decided to step down. I am involved in a number of other things but they are less physically demanding, and not so late. I get great satisfaction from volunteering at the Goose. I am happy to have been useful and helpful. I am also grateful for the Crisis Centre to be set up the way they are to enable my Christian giving. I have met very interesting people in my time. This is an essential service to people in awful situations. It’s a place for them to come off the streets, out of the cold, to get some hot food and to get support."