Supporting the homeless and vulnerable in Norwich

The last few months have been incredibly challenging for everybody, none more so than for the most vulnerable people and the homeless living in our communities. With several local services and charities being temporarily shut through the pandemic, they’ve had to turn to the generosity of small, local groups and their volunteers, to provide a hot meal.

One of those amazing people is Rob Sims. By day, Rob is Midwich’s ERP data and business intelligence analyst, by night, he volunteers his time for a Norwich based group, The People’s Picnic,  providing hot meals to those in need.

 We spoke to Rob about The People's Picnic, how he got involved and why…


Name – Rob Sims

Job title – ERP data and business intelligence analyst

Date you started at Midwich – 28th July 2018

Q Please tell us in a short paragraph how you have been volunteering since March?

A: I’ve been volunteering with ‘The Peoples Picnic’ for over 4 years now.  We provide hot meals to homeless and vulnerable people in Norwich. The need for this provision has been greater during the lockdown due to fewer food outlets being available, along with significantly fewer donations coming from the public.

My wife is in the at-risk category, we're still cooking meals for over 30 service users, but up until the lockdown was relaxed recently, we had been delivering the food to a designated distributor in Norwich (due to the at-risk nature of some of the volunteers), though now, we are back serving, but socially distanced and with basic PPE."

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Q: Why did you choose to volunteer your time?

A: I’m fortunate to have a stable environment, even though we’re living in quite strange times at the moment! I felt that I would like to give what I could to help the homeless and vulnerable. I regularly chat to our service users’ situations and one I always hear is “You’re only ever three paycheques away from being homeless” and I know that doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does to a lot of the population. If ever I was in that situation, I would like to think that there would be someone to help me, so that’s why I do it.

Q: How many hours have you volunteered, to date?

A: I've been volunteering with the Group for some years now but during lockdown, roughly 20 hours of volunteering, whilst that doesn’t seem a lot, all the service users provide the meals and the containers themselves…

Please provide a website link to the organisation (if applicable) you have volunteered for…

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