Saving his life by volunteering

It’s not unusual to experience setbacks in life, and most people, with the right support, can overcome them.

But sometimes, a tragic circumstance such as a difficult childhood or the death of a loved one can set us off course. In these situations it takes a special encounter to get back on track and make a full recovery.

The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) is a Catholic charity which provides that grace filled encounter for many distressed and suffering people each year.

The 8000 members of the SVP provide friendship to thousands of lonely, isolated and marginalised people at home, in hospital, or in residential homes.

On top of this, 500 volunteers in community support projects around the country provide practical assistance to people in need through community shops, debt and advice centres and furniture stores.

Many of these volunteers have themselves come from difficult circumstances and, determined to ‘give something back’, they join the SVP as a means of helping others. What often unfolds is a journey of self-discovery and growth. For them, volunteering with the SVP has transformed their lives.

Nick says volunteering with the SVP literally saved his life. Nick has been helping out at the SVP’s Sheffield Furniture store for over ten years.

As a young lad, he would pinch bottles of his grandad’s homemade wine and was a serious drinker by the age of 9. By the time he reached his twenties he was an alcoholic.

When his doctor gave him three months to live Nick realised he had to do something about his habit. He entered rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction and emerged from rehab with nervous anxiety and depression. He found himself having to put his life back together from scratch with very few resources.

He was given an unfurnished council flat, but without any financial resource, he had no means of buying himself a sofa or a bed. Continue reading


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