Last year HeadBox launched our Social Mission, to help provide Space to people who don’t have it, by donating £10,000 to St Mungo’s our charity partnership each year. As well as the monetary donations, the HeadBox team were all very eager to get involved in various volunteering opportunities throughout the year. So we for our first project we spent two days at Vartry Road in north London. 

What is Vartry Road?

Vartry Road in Stamford Hill, London, is one of St Mungo’s projects – a place where single homeless people aged 18 -65 can go to receive a wide range of support around issues such as social isolation and life skills. The centre is run by 10 tireless and dedicated staff members who work on 24 hour cover. The St Mungo’s team provides support with medical issues, benefits, social and life skills, and there’s a strong focus on preparing residents for independent living.

How did HeadBox help?

On two consecutive afternoons some of the HeadBox team members stepped away from their desks, and into some very flattering nylon paint suits to help decorate and transform two of the residents’ rooms at Vartry Road for two individuals called John and Sam. Here’s a photo of some of the happy HeadBoxers that volunteered:
a group of 5 people in a lime green room wearing white overalls and smiling at the camera st mungo's london

Why is it important?

Centres like Vartry Road, run by the St Mungo’s charity, play a hugely important role in the recovery of homeless people across London and the UK. These vulnerable people deserve a place to call home. Making sure the rooms are as welcoming as possible makes a huge difference to their mood, self-esteem and outlook and aids their journey to independent living. We spoke to some of the St Mungo’s team who dedicate their lives to making this centre the best it can be, and asked why projects like these are so important:

Oscar Kato, St Mungos Project Manager said: “The volunteers made a great difference to both Sam’s and John’s environment and how they feel about themselves. The impact this project has had on the two individuals will contribute to how they feel about their environment and add to their recovery”.

How did HeadBox get on?

A few hours later, we were covered head to toe in green paint. Everyone from the HeadBox team who took part in these afternoons really enjoyed being a St Mungo’s volunteer. It was a very rewarding thing to be a part of and meeting all the staff and residents at the centre was an eye-opening experience. Here are a few before and after snaps from the afternoon!

a room with cream walls that look dirty, there is a pile of belongings in the middle covered up with a plastic sheet
a big room with cream walls and a pile of belongings in the middle, there is a blonde woman in a white overall washing the walls with a yellow sponge
a blonde woman painting kitchen windows green
a large room with lime green walls

What the team have to say:

‘It was amazing to find out more about the great work St Mungo’s is doing and get an insight into what these people are going through – seeing the look on the resident’s face when we had finished the rooms made even more rewarding!’ – Jamie Clements, Senior Business Development Manager

‘It was great seeing the look on the staff members’ faces, they were taken aback by our willingness to serve but little did they know the pleasure was all ours. The St. Mungo’s charity is a fantastic organisation that deserves never-ending recognition, I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity to help out again.’ 

‘It’s great that HeadBox have made this pledge to help the wider community and it was a great chance to be involved in some volunteering work on a personal level. It was a very rewarding day and I can’t wait to do some more work with St Mungo’s.’

‘I was stunned by the amazing staff at Vartry Road, who work so hard to help people who have experienced homelessness access the services they need to get back on their feet. It felt great to help make the centre feel more like a home for the residents, and we had a blast getting to know everybody too. We can’t wait to do more for St Mungo’s!‘ 

Final words from Sam and John*:

Sam said “The volunteers did a good job, my room is so much better than it was”. He added: “I’m enjoying the room much more and I already plan to invite my family to visit“.

John also spoke very highly of the work done by the volunteers and thanked them. Two days ago he met with his local authority housing worker and he spoke highly about the work we did and how he enjoyed his room, the first place he has lived in away from care homes.

*Residents names have been changed to protect their privacy.