In November Social Media Influencer Sam Cornforth released his alternative Christmas advert, highlighting the untold stories of loneliness, isolation and the struggle with the cost of living which is the reality for many this Christmas. Sam was keen to support the campaign not just through raising awareness, but also through volunteering. These are his reflections having visited Soul Food at St Andrew’s Upper Leytonstone:
“This evening I volunteered to help at my very first @warmwelcomeuk in London. I packed my mics, tripod and thought about all the stuff I wanted to ask and record but decided the most impact I can have is being present for those that need it and kept my phone in my pocket (aside from what you see here).
Not going to lie, I was nervous going. I was worried I’d have nothing to talk about and that I may prove more of a nuisance to the hard working team of volunteers.
I’m so glad I just went for it.
I met a beautiful lady called Fatima. She complimented me on my Primark jumper and told me all about how she used to be a secret shopper for Greggs.
I met the lovely local ladies of Leytonstone that have completely turned me off having a Wetherspoons roast anytime soon.
I met a quiet man that refused to give me his name as I was a stranger, but after showing my (albeit small) interest in sport he shook my hand and wished me a Merry Christmas over a tea.
I wasn’t feeling festive until now.
This brilliant charity host thousands of spaces across the UK and most will be kick starting back in the new year. I cannot recommend volunteering enough.
“For the community, by the community”
Thank you so much to Rev Sarah Moss and all the team at St Andrew's Leytonstone for hosting us and Sam.
If you want to volunteer to bring warmth and welcome to you local community you can find spaces the need volunteers here on our volunteering map