Meet the Volunteers – Matteo

Name: Matteo

Age: 28

Country of Origin: Italy

Volunteer at Railton House (Paddington)

What brought you to London?

Sometimes you know when it’s time to move on. When my company decided not to renew my contract (because of COVID-19), I realised that it was the right time to leave my country.

Because of LHA London, the city has allowed me to develop myself personally and professionally. I can meet new people and experience cultures from all over the world. I was looking for a second chance in life and LHA made it happen. This is the best place for me right now (and for the next few years). There is so much positive energy here!

How long have you been living here?

I’ve been living in London since September 2020.

How did you hear about LHA and volunteering?

The first time it was via Google where I was looking to volunteer in a hostel.

The second time was on Google Maps. I was looking for a hostel near the Bayswater ice skating rink. Then, I read about LHA London’s volunteer programme and applied immediately. I was so excited.

Describe a typical ‘day in the life of a volunteer’ at LHA?

I wake up at 8am. I have a nice breakfast and a detailed briefing with my managers (Alcina and Laura). They always ask if everything is ok or if I need help – which I really appreciate. They are kind and caring with all of us. As a relief porter, I have new duties to do almost every day – sometimes I clean kitchens, other days the stairs, toilets and bedrooms. I am always happy, curious and positive because every day I have the opportunity to learn new skills.

If you arrive here and do not have any previous British work experience, you can take full advantage of this by enriching your CV at LHA London and use your new skills to find a job.

What do you like best about being a volunteer?

Helping people. This is something that I appreciate so much. Everybody here is looking to change, to improve, to grow and reach their goals. This makes me feel part of something extremely positive. Being a volunteer gives me the opportunity to do something good for me and for others at the same time. One day I hope to work for LHA London full time.

What has it taught you / experience gained?

Before I came to the UK, I wasn’t proud of my job. This was such a sad and stressful time for me but I didn’t have many opportunities to change it. I was going to lose all hope. But now I can be “the change I wish to see in the world”. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I am always happy and grateful to be here.

Any funny stories?

When I arrived here, I did not see my assistant manager for maybe a few days. I had my first telephone interview with her, but she never saw me. The first time I met her, she didn’t recognise me because I was wearing my face mask but then, whilst I was speaking, she immediately understood who I was because of my voice but not for my face. This was so funny! 

What’s your London secret (best place to go/visit)?

Hyde Park is such an everyday therapy for me. When I go there, I usually forget I’m in such a busy metropolitan city. I also have to mention my favourite fast food restaurant called Beigel Bake in East London’s famous Brick Lane – it’s one of the oldest bakeries in London. You can get some amazing and typical homemade fresh bagels for a couple of pounds.

Advice you’d give to any young person thinking of coming to London to work or study and volunteer at LHA?

Yes, pack your suitcases! We are waiting for you!

Volunteer with us