‘Wheels in Motion’ is a Christian Charity set up to help support homeless people struggling with addictions throughout Ayrshire, Scotland by providing shelter, food and companionship. “We aim to provide comfort and hope through the Christian Faith.” Wheels in Motion was originally a generic bus, it has since then been converted to a soup kitchen. On board, there are a couple of tables, plenty chairs and a kitchen area at the back. This charity was set up by a friend of mine named Suzanne, she has a passion for helping people and used her Christian faith to set up this charity. The bus goes out around Ayr every Thursday night, there are two stops and almost 20 people get on at each stop. During their time on the bus, guests are provided with a hot drink of their choice, a couple of rolls and a cake provided by Greggs Bakery. They are given the opportunity to chat amongst themselves or with the charity volunteers. Before leaving the bus, everyone is asked if they require a one-to-one chat, which would allow them to express any issues going on in their lives of anything they may need help with. After this, Suzanne prays with the group before presenting each guest a bag. Their bag is filled with food items such as, rolls, cuppa soups, cakes and also some documents providing numbers for support.
On Thursday 7thNovember at 7pm, I drove to Ayr Sheriff court and met the bus for our first stop. I introduced myself to the members of the volunteer team who were all very welcoming and were grateful for me being there to help. I was asked what role I would like to work in, either in the kitchen preparing food and drinks or out with the public. As I was very nervous, I chose to work in the kitchen. That way I could observe and wouldn’t get nervous having to talk to people. Around 7.30, members of the public began to appear, they were all asked what hot drink they wanted, which ranged from tea to hot chocolate to apple tea. I made all the drinks while talking to an older lady about her involvement with the charity. I was surprised to hear about all the local businesses that support the charity. For example, Greggs provides cakes and baguettes free of charge.
The bus sits at the stop for around and hour to an hour and a half, so I had plenty of time to observe and reflect. I was surprised to see the amount of people that use this facility, all ranging in ages from around early 20s to 60s/70s. Not only does the bus provided food and shelter, it also provides a safe space from the outside world. The same as children come to school, school is their safe space, they have their teacher to confide in and their friends to support them. The adults on the bus have the volunteer members to guide them and provide a listening ear. Before this experience I considered a ‘Soup Bus’ as being somewhere people get fed and move on, however, I’ve realised it so much more than that. Every time someone entered the bus, everyone’s face lit up, I could tell instantly that they were more like a big family. Although, I was working in the kitchen, I enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to the people that came on the bus. I could tell they loved hearing my story about university and I loved hearing all about their life and the challenges they have overcome.
Following this experience, I have realised how important it is that as a community we support each other. I spoke to one of the volunteers which really opened my eyes, he explained to me that these people aren’t in this position out of choice. It’s often circumstances that they couldn’t control or illnesses out with their control that have lead them to this position. This made me realise that we really don’t know what’s around the corner. There could come a day when I need the support of the Wheels in Motion bus and for that reason I have chosen to sign up as a volunteer. As an aspiring teacher, it is important for me to understand that I will be teaching children from various different backgrounds. Therefore, I thought this was a great opportunity to get myself out there in the community, to learn to talk to people and understand every one’s circumstances. So far, I have been on the bus twice and I love it! I know that the more I go and interact with everyone my confidence is going to improve. I struggle with small talk, I get nervous and overthink what I’m meant to say, whether I’m saying too much or no words are coming out. So, I’m hoping that my time as a volunteer will boost my confidence and communication skills. Hoping to graduate from UWS in 2022, I have until then to develop the UWS Graduate Attributes. I already feel myself becoming a more effective communicator and more socially responsible.
Wheels in Motion. 2019. [Online] Available: https://wheels-in-motion.org/index.html[Accessed: 18 November 2019]
University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available: https://www.uws.ac.uk/current-students/your-graduate-attributes/[Accessed: 15 November 2019]