Under the Arches #6 (part ii) – From placement student to volunteer

5th June 2024

My placement certainly was not short of challenges. The Archer Project is a very fast-paced environment where no day is really the same, which combined with my outside commitments, such as socialising with friends, made me feel exhausted.

At points this imbalance even made me feel unmotivated to interact with beneficiaries in an enthusiastic way, as I was just so tired and anxious to do so. It was the overwhelming support and inclusivity from The Archer Project’s workforce that truly empowered me to overcome this challenge. Staff were always happy to provide me with support, advice and encouragement when I needed it, with my supervisor even offering me the flexibility to work one less day if the placement became too intense. Although me bringing in homemade cakes every Friday to express my gratitude certainly encouraged the staff’s supportiveness, I always felt a genuine warmth from the workforce that was very comforting.


I also found equal value in my interactions with Project volunteers, as I discovered all volunteers have a personal reason for being part of The Archer Project. Everyone has a story I guess. Many of the volunteers I worked alongside revealed that they were once homeless and how The Archer Project community supported them emotionally, as well as practically by providing stability via volunteering.

Even many volunteers who hadn’t personally been homeless themselves revealed that they had connections to people who had been homeless. That experience encouraged them to strive for a more first-hand understanding of homelessness.

For me, this just shows that volunteers are the personal heart of The Archer Project. Not that this downplays the fantastic work the staff do, as The Archer Project is fully built around people who are passionate about addressing homelessness and other associated adversities, with this genuineness and authenticity making me so proud to be part of the team.


As a result of my placement, I have decided to stay at The Archer Project as an engagement volunteer. This is because throughout the placement my confidence grew massively alongside the immense progression of my professional skills and relationships, so leaving after all that growth would have just felt unfulfilling.

Not only can I build upon the foundational growth of my placement, with my added responsibility to lead client assessments to further challenge my trauma-informed practice, but I can broaden this progression. For instance, based upon my enjoyment of baking cakes for everyone, I am now spreading my passion for baking by leading a Project baking group as part of the stabilisation service.


Most importantly though, this confidence to further contribute to The Archer Project is stemmed through the organisation’s warm and genuine community full of people who make me feel valued. The team all signed a thank you card to end my placement, which though I was strangely overwhelmed by, I appreciated it massively.


A note from The Archer Project team: We are more than happy to keep eating cake!


Read part i here: https://archerproject.org.uk/news/under-the-arches-6-part-i


Written by Harry, Archer Project volunteer and keen baker.

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