Training sessions are run for all new volunteers and there is a volunteer handbook with full instructions on aspects of safety in working with FAITH. This must be read and applied by all volunteers.
One can be forgiven for feeling that “common sense” is all that is needed when working on the streets. Experience has shown however that sometimes that is not the case.
These “Do’s and Don’ts” are offered as a check list against which to test your thinking about working on the street. Some of the following may seem excessive.
We only ask that you see them as advice from those with experience. We have known two very sensible volunteers for instance who were tricked out of serious amounts of money.
- Do try to be aware of what is going on around you at all times.Do be polite and helpful.
- Do respect “personal space”.
- Do be sensitive. Most of our clients have real issues in their lives. Some will have been abused in some way or another.
- Do be aware of potential danger (people may have a violent past).
- Do try to remember people’s names and develop friendships.
- Do remember that you may be the only person that shows an interest in them except the drug dealer or the off licence.
- Do take a break if you feel like it, this can be very stressful work.
- Do dress sensibly, especially women.
- Do remember that what may seem like a perfectly harmless gesture in normal circles may be seen as a ‘come on’ to someone else.
- Do tell a member of staff if you are worried about anything.
- Do ensure that you have your pastor’s approval and the support of your church or fellowship.
- Do get prayer support from friends. Someone praying for you when you are out will help you.
- Be very careful about touching people on the street. What might seem a harmless gesture to most of us could be taken completely differently by one of the street folk.
- × If laying on hands for healing. Ask permission and please use extreme discretion.
- × It is best to only touch the head, shoulder or arm.
- × Male to male, female to female is strongly advised.
- × Always pray with people in pairs, never do so alone.
- × Do offer a handshake but refrain from hugging and never, ever kiss a client.
- Do not judge anyone.
- Do not argue with people.
- Do not talk about politics or at least be careful and avoid disagreement.
- Do not ask too many questions. Don’t ‘pry’.
- Do not leave valuables in accessible or visible places.
- Do not give money (no exceptions) – we can organise Travel Warrants or small payments for specifics, but cash will get spent on drugs!
- Do not naively believe anything you are told – addicts notoriously live in a world of their own imagining.
- Do not be scared to ask a member of staff about anything bothering you, no matter how trivial it may seem. That’s what we are here for.
- Do not be scared to make suggestions or criticisms, we will be glad to listen.
- Do not crowd the inside of the tea bar ( 3 people maximum to be inside) or walk around in a large a group.
- Do not forget why we are here and who we are serving! (Jesus that is!)
- × Never give out your surname, address or phone number or any other details about your day to day business.
- × Never take or invite a client to your own home under any circumstances.
- × Never give or promise financial support.
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