As part of our “Getting to know ..” series, our Head of Engagement & Volunteering, Ben, spoke to HOS volunteer, Robbie.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your role?

“My name is Ben Parker and I’ve worked with Housing Options Scotland since May 2019. My job is Head of Engagement and Volunteering, which means I look after quite a broad range of things – for example the volunteer programme, our comms and social media, and other odd things like fundraising and reporting to the board and other funders.

How did you come across the role at HOS?

“I was very lucky when I came across HOS because it was the first job I applied for after studying at university. I was working on my dissertation and knew that I wanted to work in the third sector when the job came up.

Initially, I started off as the Volunteer Coordinator, tasked with setting up the volunteer programme as we didn’t have one at the time. Down the line, it’s snowballed into different things and my job is really varied now.”

What does a typical workday look like for you?

“It’s an impossible question to answer because things differ day-to-day, but I do work condensed hours, meaning I start a little bit earlier and finish slightly later. I will try to get through emails that have come in during the morning, or I’ll work on documents I need to finish.

A lot of my day is about being in communication with the team and generally checking up on them to see how they’re doing. I’ll also have a lot of meetings to attend, whether it’s with volunteers or with other organisations, so that takes up a lot of my time.”

You’re in charge of publishing HOS’s quarterly reports, can you tell us about that process?

“I’ll start by looking at casework figures and working out trends in clients. I’ll then ask questions like: “What are people getting in touch with us about? Are we busier than usual? Are there certain parts of the country we’re getting more referrals for? How busy are particular areas of the service compared to others?”. I have to look at the bigger picture.

As far as making the quarterly report, I’ll start having a think about these things at the end of the quarter. There are two versions of the report: one matter of fact, straight-forward document that gets sent to the board; and another version for the website which is more illustrative and might include certain client stories or events worth highlighting.”

What kind of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

“I have a second job as an elected Councillor in Edinburgh so that takes up lots of my time! I am also in the process of decorating my new flat and I do enjoy getting out on my bike and doing a bit of painting when I have the time.”

Why do you enjoy working for Housing Options Scotland?

“I think that every day is quite varied, which keeps things interesting. For example: I can clock into work and decide which part of my job I’ll be focusing on for the day, just based on what’s most pressing or what I think will make the biggest difference.

Everybody who works at HOS is very supportive and we all believe in what we do. We’re hard workers and want the best outcomes for clients and for the entire organisation. Everyone is willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in, and I think that’s a really valuable thing.”