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One of our incredible office volunteers, John, has been awarded the Mayor's Award from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea!

Each year, the Mayor's Awards are given to recognise people who have gone above and beyond to serve the community and who have made a significant difference to the lives of the borough's residents. We caught up with him to find out more about why Glass Door is such a special place to volunteer for. 

I joined before the pandemic, in October 2018. I grew into the role and felt immediately connected to the organisation. It felt like it was meant to be. I feel I can be flexible too, and volunteer on the days that work for me. There’s so much support from Glass Door and I always felt supported from day one. 

I feel so proud and privileged to be a volunteer at Glass Door. We’re striving to make a real difference and make homelessness a thing of the past.

My role involves registering guests, answering the phone and welcoming people. Sometimes guests haven’t been spoken to in days and just one conversation can help so much.  

Then we went into the pandemic. I continued to help out in the office throughout the lockdowns, but wasn't expected to. I live by myself so volunteering throughout the pandemic made me feel supported, as much as I supported the team.  

It’s so easy to become homeless – there's such a fine line between housed and homeless.   

My first experience with volunteering was at age 18. I went travelling in America. I ended up in Manhattan and met a church volunteer who asked if I wanted to stay and work in their soup kitchen. My confidence grew and I chatted to guests, like what I do at Glass Door now.   

Whatever you can do to help is really powerful, big or small. Everyone from delivery person to kitchen volunteer, all of those people help keep Glass Door driving forward.  

Getting the email that I won the award took my breath away. It gets me choked up now just thinking about it! It felt like Christmas. I feel very proud of myself and Glass Door.   

No matter what happens in life I’m always going to find time for Glass Door.  

I told my mum I’d won first, then my best friends – they told me that they’ve seen a difference in me since being connected to Glass Door. I feel like I’m turning into the man I should be. 

John and Corin, our Volunteer Manager

Our volunteer manager, Corin, says: 

“Every day that John volunteers with us he goes above and beyond to support guests. Our guests are particularly vulnerable, they may have difficulty communicating the issues they are facing, or are not confident communicating in English. They may also be, and sometimes are when they call, in immediate crisis."

"John brings great patience and kindness to everyone he works with, taking the time and care to understand the guests’ needs to be able to direct them to the right support, and to encourage and reassure them. Many a time I’ve overheard John handling a challenging call, spending upwards of an hour on the phone supporting a guest in difficulty. He is never flustered, and always prioritizes guests and their needs.”

If you’d like to volunteer for Glass Door, find out more.