Volunteers make the work we do possible.
For as long as Caring in Bristol has existed, our projects have been powered by people who have generously offered up their time, skills, and expertise because they know that homelessness is unacceptable and unnecessary.
A number of our volunteers found themselves furloughed during the early stages of the pandemic and decided to put the time they would have spent at their day jobs to good use – one such team member is Kritika, who joined Caring in Bristol last April. This is her story.
Please could you begin by introducing yourself? What’s your name and whereabouts in Bristol are you based?
My name is Kritika Singh, and I live in Stoke Gifford. I currently work as a Multi-Property Sales Leader heading up the sales & events team for the Bristol Marriott Royal and Bristol Marriott City Centre.
I have been actively volunteering for Caring in Bristol & Can Do Bristol.
“Reading about the housing crisis and people and families in difficult situations… moved me personally”
How did you come across Caring in Bristol and what inspired you to start volunteering with us?
In April 2020, I was furloughed as everyone else in the hospitality industry. In these unprecedented times, it was vital more than ever to help and support the community. I began looking up for opportunities on Google where I could sign up to volunteer. It was phenomenal to see a great response for volunteering that I was on a waiting list for volunteering with NHS Covid-19 responder services.
I then came across a post on Facebook about the Caring in Bristol initiative and what they provide for the homeless in Bristol. Reading about the housing crisis and people and families in difficult situations, it really moved me personally about the work they do and I made the decision to volunteer for this charity and indeed my best decision for 2020.
Did your experience meet your expectations? Was there anything that surprised you about volunteering?
I love working for the charity. Two things really surprised me and I was so humbled to see was the undying spirit of these Michelin star chefs cooking up 600 meals a day with the uncertainty looming on our industry but they did cook and serve with a smile and also the amount of food donations from schools, companies, and trusts the charity received the last year.
Has volunteering with Caring in Bristol changed the way you think about homelessness in Bristol?
Absolutely. Personally speaking I pray and hope no one goes through homelessness. I feel there is good opportunity for businesses to come forward and support with accommodation needs for the homeless.
There has been great progress when I started last year in April 2020, we used to cater over 600 meals a day and gradually scaled down when people were accommodated at various facilities which is always a good sign. The spirit to serve is certainly there, however we could do with more support especially regarding the appeal for those with No Recourse to Public Funds.
“Volunteering has kept me going this past year.”
What has been your favourite part of volunteering at Caring in Bristol? Do you have any particularly memorable shifts or moments?
My favourite part have been helping out in the kitchen, meeting new people and delivering food parcels to hotels and HMOs. My memorable shifts have definitely been the festive shifts, such as helping out to make 400 Christmas cards and decorating gingerbread men. I had great fun.
You’ve gone the extra mile in terms of organising a donation on behalf of your workplace – please could you tell us a bit about doing this?
At Marriott, they really encourage you to look after your well being and mental health. They encourage us to support the community known as Spirit to Serve. This could be via fundraising or donations and in this case it was food donation that the employees of the hotel put together to donate to Caring in Bristol. They are really proud of my volunteering activities this past year, and as appreciation they nominated me for a Rising Star award hosted by We are the City which I recently won!
Finally, is there any advice you would give to someone who is perhaps curious about volunteering but not sure where to start?
Personally, I have discovered that helping and serving others has given me a sense of purpose & satisfaction which is directly responsible for my mental health. Volunteering has kept me going this past year and if I can, you can. Just search for opportunities in your area and I am sure charities are always on the lookout for volunteers. Make Kindness go viral!
To find out more about volunteering and to hear about upcoming opportunities, sign up for our volunteer mailing list.