Day in the life: Alone In London | Depaulcharity

Day in the life: Alone In London | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Day in the life: Alone In London

By Iveta Tsenkova - 25 February 2019


Depaul UK runs a range of prevention services designed to stop young people from becoming homeless, including Alone In London. This project offers  early intervention work through its schools programme, offering free workshops, assemblies and information stalls in schools. The programme focuses on homelessness awareness and prevention, and conflict resolution through restorative circles. Early Intervention Worker Iveta has blogged about a day in her life working to prevent homelessness.

I first joined Depaul UK in 2018 as a volunteer with the Early Interventions Team. I chose to stay with the organisation after seeing the difference I’m able to make in my role, and the impact that one assembly, one workshop or one project can have.

I spend some of my time working in schools, and this morning I’m doing an assembly in a school. Getting up in front of 135 students ranging from Year 7 to Year 11 can sometimes be a bit unnerving. However it is incredibly satisfying and enjoyable.

At the assembly we talked about the realities of homelessness and I introduced the concept of ‘hidden homelessness’. These are people who might not have reported as homeless to their local authority, but who don’t have a safe and permanent place to stay.

I try to make sure assemblies are interactive and that there are plenty of chances for students to ask questions, express opinions and challenge stereotypes. As with every workshop and assembly that I deliver, the charity and its services were introduced and explained. We finished with the students filling in feedback forms.  Seeing their positive feedback and comments brightens up my day, especially when it is dark and cloudy or I’ve spilled coffee in the morning on my outfit!

After collecting the feedback forms and signing our, I headed back to the office to leave the paperwork and prepare for the next workshop. It’s a busy day, with another workshop in the afternoon, so I eat my lunch on the go.

At the second school I was running an hour long session with just 18 students attending. The aim was to introduce the same topics while using more interactive exercises and activities.

When we finished the group asked me to stay a bit later as they had some action planning to do and wanted my feedback and support on it. Whenever this happens, I am always amazed by the enthusiasm and compassion that students exhibit. This school is currently working on three related projects to raise money for homelessness charities, donate food to a local foodbank and raise awareness of homelessness in the community.

On the way home I was able to check my emails – because I’m out and about so much, I have to stay organised and manage lots of relationships with partner organisations, schools, colleges, youth clubs and colleagues.

I love what I do because I believe we can make a big difference working with young people.  Youth homelessness is a huge problem, not just in the UK but all over the world. As I run different sessions with varied groups, I can see first hand how one hour can help change a perspective or plant the seed of an idea – and ultimately make a real difference.

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