Alison is originally from Aberdeen and now lives off Princes Avenue in Hull.
As a mobile foot health practitioner, she offers companions free foot care, such as nail cutting, removing corns and calluses and offering advice and tips with common conditions (e.g. fungal nail, athlete’s foot, verrucas and ingrowing toe nails).
After seeing an article about the Orchard, she looked into what we do as she was interested in volunteering.
Alison enjoys giving companions something that makes them more comfortable (many work hard on their feet!) and it has helped her develop skills as a practitioner. Many of her weekday customers have ‘easy’ feet and seeing companions with more challenging feet allowed me to develop.
Her proudest moment was persuading a companion who was in a high degree of pain to visit a walk in clinic and then A&E. She had suspected a fracture and he was very reluctant to be involved with medical intervention (he presented as quite down in himself and she was worried that enduring physical pain wouldn’t help him). Where Alison’s unable to offer hands on support, she always offers advice and signposts companions to relevant services.
Talking about her time at Emmaus, Alison said: “I would encourage others to be involved in an organisation enables companions to make changes to develop the confidence and skills needed to reduce the likelihood of being homeless again.
“A bed for the night is a short term provision and organisations who understand the wider needs of individuals have a better chance of supporting long term change and improve life chances.
“Everyone has a skill that they could volunteer to help the Emmaus community. They would be helping the wider community in tackling the complex issues surrounding homelessness. Donating your time can be more satisfying than just donating money. It makes you feel part of a wider community that is making a difference.
“As an avid bargain hunter, I would encourage fellow bargain hunters to pop to the Emmaus charity shops.”