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Volunteers week 2024 – Volunteers sharing the love for Matthew’s House and their roles!

This volunteers week, out lovely Sarah and Rachel who have a combined 10 years or more voluntary service for Matthew’s House shared at the SCVS volunteers week event at the scouts hall in Swansea. There was a lot of love, great stories, powerful encouragement and displays from voluntary groups from all over. 


Here is what Rachel shared with those who joined them at the event. Volunteering is such a special and enabling gift we can all receive.


“Hello, my name is Rachel. Sarah and I I volunteer in Matthew’s House, a wonderful charity which offers hope and hospitality to the vulnerable in our city. I started volunteering about 5 years ago, shortly after I retired. I was a Secondary school English teacher for more than 30 years. I loved my job and really enjoyed working with young people. I have always felt it important to have a sense of the wider community in which we all live, an understanding of other people’s lives, which may be very different from our own. I tried to teach my pupils this: the importance of giving back to society as well as taking and expecting others to give to us.

On a personal level, volunteering also gives me a real sense of purpose and value to my life. I think it’s easy to feel a little bit lost and directionless when you retire. I know my husband, who retired a few years before me, felt quite low at first, and didn’t know quite what to do with himself. We have both been volunteers at Matthew’s House for several years now and it is such a joy. Our days are full and busy; there is a clear structure to our week; we feel loved and valued by Matthew’s House and delight in sharing our skills and helping others.


Matthew’s House has now been running for 7 years, serving over 175,000 meals, and distributing 5,000 dignity packs. Our pay-as-you-feel waste food café is fully open for table service three times a week, where we offer free essential sanitary and hygiene items to anyone who needs them. We believe that nobody should have to make the choice between food and basic comfort. Matt’s Shower and Laundry facilities are available primarily for rough sleepers in the city, and our friendly advocacy ‘Buddy’ scheme gives guests a chance to connect with a friendly face and chat about whatever issues they may be facing. Our Hope in Swansea smartphone app is going from strength to strength, with over 160 support services now registered and approved, hailed as a “really useful tool” by volunteers and support workers across the city. Matt’s Community Choir is now over a year old, with 50 members, coming together each week for the joy of music, wellbeing, and community.

 I absolutely love MH. It really is like an extended family. One of the highlights of my week is going there every Monday for my shift. We start at 8am and finish at 2.30. It’s hard work but so varied and rewarding. I might be sorting donations, welcoming guests, finding emergency clothing, cleaning the toilets, listening to someone’s troubles over a cuppa, or doing the ironing!

Thom and the other leaders at Matthew’s House are wonderful. They nurture and value every volunteer, always making the point that the charity couldn’t run without us. They are excellent communicators and take the wellbeing of volunteers as seriously as the wellbeing of our guests. They give a monthly award for volunteer of the month and rewards for long service at 6 months, twelve months and every year after that. We all enjoy these celebrations, supporting and cherishing each other. Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are retired, some are students, we have army veterans, ex-prisoners, people with their own mental health or family problems, whole families and individuals. Our paths in life wouldn’t have crossed otherwise. I really love the close connections we have all made. We are of all faiths or no faith; what matters is that Matthew’s House inspires us all, as volunteers, to give hope and hospitality to anyone who walks through our door, and to “do everything in love”.