local charity boosted by volunteer support

In 2009, employees from the Chevron Upstream Europe began volunteering at Aberdeen Cyrenians – a charity that aims to meet all the varying needs of people affected by homelessness in Aberdeen and the surrounding area.

The business unit volunteers work on a rota basis on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (5.30-7.30pm) to support charity’s "Street Alternatives" programme, a drop in service at the Aberdeen Summer Street centre that offers a wide range of services including temporary accommodation, shelter and food. Although the service is run by Cyrenian employees, it relies heavily on volunteers to assist in the evenings to serve food and help out with a range of kitchen duties.

Alastair Bisset, Captain tunraround co-ordinator at Chevron, with Jenna Ingram, Aberdeen Cyrenians Volunteer co-ordinator, at the charity

Alastair Bisset, Captain tunraround co-ordinator at Chevron, with Jenna Ingram, Aberdeen Cyrenians Volunteer co-ordinator, at the charity's Summer Street centre.

Alastair Bisset, Captain turnaround co-ordinator at Chevron, is a long-standing volunteer and we caught up with him to find out why he originally got involved with the organisation.

“We started-up the Chevron volunteer rota with the Cyrenians back in 2009. Prior to that I’d been involved with them indirectly through the Street Pastoring that I do, and realised what a vital role their volunteers played in supporting the services they offered.

“The organisation supports people in difficult situations, both practically and socially, and I was keen to know if I could do more to assist them. I realised that there would be others at Chevron who might share that sentiment, and that if we could look to support them collectively – rather than individually – we might be able to offer them significant support in terms of an established volunteer group to help with their ‘Street Alternatives’ service on weekday evenings.

“So that’s how we got started and now the Chevron volunteers are primarily involved with food preparation, serving and general kitchen cleaning and tidying duties, whilst the service users are in for meals and to socialise. The Chevron helpers are part of a larger volunteer group that runs the service in the evenings and work as part of that team.

Jenna Ingram, Aberdeen Cyrenians Volunteer co-ordinator commented: “Having a consistent volunteer group to support the Street Alternatives program has been invaluable, especially when we have gone through difficult periods and been stretched with our other volunteer resources. The Chevron team has enabled us to keep this vital service running for those who need it the most.”

As well as providing practical support, Chevron also recently donated £28,500 to the organisation to support the Street Alternatives programme.

“I cannot tell you how grateful we are for the money, particularly at this time when funding is so difficult to identify,” said Susan Montgomerie, Aberdeen Cyrenians chief executive.

“The money will go a very long way to helping us provide the vital services to the many vulnerable service users with whom we work on a daily basis. A huge thank you goes to Chevron, to the volunteers who help out in the evenings at the centre and to your staff who also generously donated food through the recent food drive. You organisation is making a difference in the community,” added Susan.

For more information on Chevron’s social investment programme, click here.