Tel: 01702 343040
Registered Charity No: 1098126
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Night Shelter Support Volunteer

Opportunities available:
Week day evenings   5pm – 9pm (days negotiable)
Sunday 10.30am – 5pm
HARP (Homeless Action Resource Project) is a progressive charity combining a Homeless Day Centre, Night Shelter and supported accommodation throughout Southend on Sea, Essex. This exciting and innovative venture offers a broad range of services aimed at tackling the issues facing Southend's homeless.
Our main objectives are to provide homeless people with help and advice in securing accommodation and to alleviate homelessness through the provision of short-term emergency accommodation and medium stay supported housing.
The Emergency Night Service is open to service users from 17.30 Monday – Saturday and from 10.30 on Sunday. Service users run the kitchen with support, preparing the meals for the household.  The Night Shelter offers respite for homeless people and the opportunity to receive key-working with the aim of resettlement.
.The ideal candidate will have:
  • Good communication and computer skills

  • The ability to remain calm in a crisis and deal with all incidents in a professional manner

  • Have an empathy and understanding for homeless people, especially those who have complex needs.

For full details and an enquiry form, contact: Diane Ainslie via e-mail at

We also have active vacancies for Volunteer Drivers and Van Assistants at our charity shop and Volunteer Cleaners at our day centre. To apply please see below.

Why do we need volunteers?

Without faithful volunteers, HARP would not be able to provide the level of service and/or reach the people who are in need. Unfortunately we do not have the manpower or funds to do fully support our comprehensive range of homeless services. That is why volunteers are so important and needed to us. Volunteering is also good for the person; it lets you appreciate what you have and gives you a great feeling knowing that you have helped another human being.

There are hundreds of possible reasons why people would choose to volunteer; often volunteers have a number of reasons when they contact us. Each volunteer gets something positive out of the experience. Volunteering is not for everybody of course, some people just do not have the time or motivation, and that is fair enough.

Our volunteers bring a huge benefit to HARP, not least their financial value to the charity, saving us a several thousand pounds each year.

As well as this financial input, our volunteers bring other significant gains:

  • Different experiences

  • Skills and knowledge

  • Additional support

  • New ideas

  • Diversity

  • Enthusiasm

Have you got what it takes?

Contact us now for an informal chat and to find out more about volunteering with HARP:

1. Day Centre/Shop roles - Contact Lesley Simmonds at HARP to arrange interview for a volunteer post at our Day Centre or Shop.

Lesley Simmonds – Volunteer Coordinator
01702 306101

2. Fundraising/Events - For an informal discussion about these new roles please contact:

Lucy Martin, Senior Community Fundraiser (Mon-Weds)
Telephone: 01702 615000.

*Please note - all applications and placements are subject to a CRB (Criminal Records Board) disclosure.

3. Volunteer Enquiry Form - Alternatively, please click here to download a Volunteer Enquiry Form, complete it and post the form back to us at the address below:

Volunteer Coordinator
HARP Day Centre
59 Valkyrie Road
Essex SS0 8AW

Volunteering vacancies

Day Centre (Open Mon-Fri 9.00am- 4.00pm)
Volunteer Cleaner
Volunteer Head Chef
Volunteer Kitchen Assistant
Volunteer Reception
Volunteer Donated Goods/Clothes Store
Volunteer Laundry

Charity Shop: (Open Mon: 9am-4pm, Tuesday-Friday: 9am-4.45pm, Sat: 10am-2pm)
Volunteer Driver for Shop
Volunteer Customer Assistant
Volunteer Window Dresser
Volunteer Pricer
Volunteer Website Sales (TBC)
Volunteer Gift Aid Administration (TBC)

New roles under development -

Volunteer for Community Campaigns
Volunteer Collecting Tin Coordinator
Volunteer Events Team Support
Volunteer Fundraising Groups
Volunteer Coordinator - Community Days
Volunteer Community Speaker


Collecting Tin volunteer (18 years or over)
Preparation of mailings (envelope stuffing)
Registration at events (18 years or over)

How do I become a volunteer and what happens next?

Contact us to discuss the roles and arrange an interview -

1. Day Centre/Shop roles - Contact Lesley Simmonds, Volunteer Coordinator

2. Fundraising/Events - Lucy Martin, Senior Community Fundraiser

*Please note - all applications and placements are subject to a CRB (Criminal Records Board) disclosure.

The interview consists of an informal discussion on why you would like to volunteer, your availability, what you have to offer and an outline of volunteering roles available and current services. 

Application Process -

If you are happy to continue, an application form is completed and returned to us to take up references. You will also need to complete a CRB form and provide us with evidence of your residency e.g. passport, driving licence, Birth Certificate, National Insurance number, bank statement or utility bill.

Induction -

Once we have the application back, an Induction is arranged, which is carried out in a small group of potential volunteers covering the History of Harp, Services within Harp, background of role and expectations in relation to current legislation covering Health and Safety, Personal Boundaries, Equality and Diversity, How to Deal with Disclosure and so on.   

The Induction is carried out in a group training format looking at case studies to work through within the group so you are aware of potential situations you could be faced with whilst volunteering at Harp.  This is to provide you with information on current legislation and to give you an insight into service provision. 

Day Centre Volunteering Example -

Once Induction is completed and you would like to assist or cook in the kitchen, a Kitchen Induction is carried out, again to equip you with relevant knowledge on Health and Safety and also what is expected in terms of working in the kitchen.   

It is worth pointing out that at any point should you not wish to continue volunteering then it is entirely your choice and Harp accepts that other commitments come up and situations change. 

If you decide you do want to volunteer and all Inductions completed then we ask for you to come in and spend the morning on the front Reception desk, to shadow an experienced member of staff, to give you an idea of what happens in the Day Centre and to see how you like it. 

From there we discuss your availability and the roles you would like to do. 

Placement and On-going Support -

Once you have started volunteering there is ongoing support available from Volunteer Coordinator and/or Senior Community Fundraiser, including regular supervisions and ongoing training relevant to your role.  We have monthly meetings to discuss roles, the Day Centre and any issues that come up in relation to volunteering.  We are also looking at having regular social events for volunteers as a way of team building!

Our Mission Statement

“Our organisation is committed to providing a needs-led, high quality support service for homeless people to enable them to achieve independent living within the community”.

Our Vision and Values Statement


HARP will be recognised as the leading provider of homeless services within Southend.

HARP will be acknowledged as a professional organisation that can respond to the diverse needs of the homeless population in Southend, e.g. young people, families and rough sleepers. 

HARP will deliver high quality services that empower homeless people to live independently.

HARP will be seen as an innovative and robust organisation that can respond to the ever changing needs and demands within the homeless field.


Our work is guided by a set of values, which help to determine work priorities and the overall style of working, recognising that everyone has a contribution to make and a right to equality of opportunity.

HARP believes that

No person should suffer discrimination or lack of opportunity based on race, gender, belief, sexuality, disability, age or class.

Services characterised by high quality, integrity and respect for recipients, colleagues and outside agencies are the best way of working.

Staff deserve to be well trained, managed and supported.

Service user involvement, an understanding of homelessness and a holistic approach to working is the best way to empower people towards independent living.

Innovation and creative solutions to problems will enable us to reflect the ever changing needs of homeless people both in its services and policies.