Hello! I am Rumbi Mukumba, a Level 2 Diagnostic Radiography student at QMU. I moved from Birmingham to Edinburgh to study at the University. My first year at QMU was quite interesting and challenging as I was far away from home. Some of the challenges I faced were financial as I had to pay for my placement uniforms, traveling expenses, etc by myself unlike many of my classmates who were able to get reimbursements from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). I had quite a lot of alone time as most of my friends lived away from the campus. To help fill my time, a good friend of mine, Erren, encouraged me to take up some voluntary work with Rock Trust.

Rock Trust is a charity organisation in Edinburgh aimed at eradicating youth homelessness across all Edinburgh and the Lothians. It supports young persons from the ages of 16 up till 26 to get into good housing accommodation. Currently they have a Peer Flatmate Scheme under their My Place project with East Lothian Council which helps young persons who have been in care to start living independently. Under the Peer Flatmate scheme I volunteered as a mentor in shared accommodation with two young people.

The bulk of this voluntary work within the Peer Flatmate scheme of shared living involves me engaging with my flatmates, helping them with daily tasks to help them become independent. It sometimes involves cooking together or going for walks, assisting them with job applications or helping them register with a GP, to list a few activities.

The mentoring role also involves offering general assistance and guidance and pointing my two flatmates in the right direction of the help and support resources they might need. Being a Peer Flatmate essentially means you are a daily support for young people as they transition from care to independent living. As a mentor, Rock Trust offer you assistance and all the support you need to be a successful volunteer. The role differs depending on the needs of the flatmates, I have been volunteering for almost a year now.

The role itself can be quite challenging but it is very rewarding. It also comes with benefits like free accommodation with internet which I found very helpful as my course often comes with extra expenses while on placements. With the help and support from Callum Maguire (Head of Widening Participation and Outreach), my dear friend Erren and Andy from Rock Trust, I have been able to overcome the challenges I faced when I first start volunteering for the project and extend a heartfelt thank you to them.

Rumbi Mukumba