Laura: Hello Niko, what motivated you to want to get involved in One25?
Niko: Well, I’m quite new to Bristol and a friend of mine actually works here so I was aware of it and then I was just really interested because I’d never heard of a charity like it. So that was the first thing. And I think because I work in healthcare and I don’t know, it’s very different, providing a service that people actually want to be helped, y’know? I think that interests me quite a lot.
Niko: Yeah, I think it was… initially it was great because I was offered both, the van or the drop-in and just yeah it suits me better for the days ‘cause… I work night shifts… so days are better for me. And from my understanding, a lot of other volunteers do Monday-Friday 9-5 so it’s a bit easier for them to do the nights so I was happy… I was happy with either to be honest but yeah the drop-in day does definitely suit me better.
Laura: And how do you find drop-in generally?
Niko: Oh, it’s amazing. Yeah, it’s incredible. When I first started I didn’t really know what to expect so I think I was a little bit nervous. Although you get… you’re sort of prepped for it and your training. But it was absolutely fine. Because the drop-in staff are incredible and they make you feel totally at ease. And yeah, you just need to be yourself, y’know? Everyone’s human and you just have a little chat, either as little or as much as you want to get from it. Yeah I just left buzzing. My first shift… I remember being really tired actually, it was a lot more tiring than I thought it was gonna be… mentally.
""...you just need to be yourself, y’know? Everyone’s human and you just have a little chat, either as little or as much as you want... I just left buzzing.""-
Niko: Yeah, emotionally and mentally. But yeah, it’s just incredible. It’s such a nice space to be in. You don’t even realise the time… it’s just what’s going on there is the most important thing.
Laura: Yep yep, so you’ve just finished a drop in shift today… How was it? Could you talk us through how it went… was it typical?
Niko: It was a little slow starting… it’s always totally different… you might only have a couple of people but it’ll feel really really busy ‘cause they might need a lot of assistance and… it’s always different every day… which makes it really exciting. But it was typical in the way that the women got what they needed from us. Y’know, there wasn’t anything that none of us couldn’t help with… whether it was accessing the computers or the phones… the food went down a treat… and the cakes, as usual.
Laura: What did you have?
Niko: Today was sausages with wedges and humous and veg. And then there were so many amazing cakes that everyone bakes. A good chocolate cake, a fruit cake, whatever you want. Also there was some fruit tart. Yeah, so that was all well received! And we also had a couple of visitors I think from the Vice team, came and donated a load of clothes. So it was really nice to meet them. But yeah, generally it was quite a nice afternoon.
Laura: Did you have any activities going on?
Niko: We were doing some sort of artsy crafty thing which I’m not great at but it was to do with the coming up of the 20th anniversary for the charity so we made some Happy 20th Birthday signs that hopefully might make it on the wall.
Niko: Yeah, one hundred percent. Yeah, even if you’re not here you’re still involved in the group emails and things that are up and coming. The training they put on’s amazing. So I’m always keen to come to as much training as I can. ‘Cause obviously, even if you might think you know it or it might not be for you, it’s worth just going because you always learn something and you get to meet everyone else. And each shift… you have your briefing, the drop-in staff talk you through everything that’s gonna be happening that day and then after you have debrief… and that’s great, it’s really important I think to have a little sort of check in.
Laura: So what happens in the brief and the debrief?
Niko: So in the brief we will discuss any potential women that might’ve been maybe banned from the service, or may be at a higher risk. So if they come in to maybe approach the drop-in workers… go to a more senior member. And… we kind of have a little chat about ourselves, how we all are, how we’re feeling so everyone’s sort of on the same page. And then we just run through basic sort of fire drill stuff or if something might happen, we’ve all got a role in what’s going on so everyone’s safe and got their backs covered. And then the debrief is just about who came in and what they accessed and just general well-being of everyone.
""...what’s not to like? Y’know, you’re doing good and it makes you feel good and these people really appreciate it" "-
Niko: Yeah I would, a hundred percent. I’ve thought about this because I’ve got a couple of friends that I know would just be perfect for it and it’s the kind of thing they talk about but don’t actually get involved in. And because I’m kind of here, I can sort of push it on them! I just think they and people who access the service would really benefit from it, y’know, in every way. And it’s just, yeah, what’s not to like? Y’know, you’re doing good and it makes you feel good and these people really appreciate it and it’s greatly well received. It might not be for everyone but I’d find it hard to believe it wasn’t. I don’t know… I’m not being biased but I just think it’s incredible.