Cyrenians is a charity working with people who experience homelessness. Cyrenians has two residential communities: a farm, based in West Lothian, 10 miles from the centre of Edinburgh, and a city based community in Edinburgh itself. Each community has up to eight residents, who come to live in the communities as a result of homelessness, usually caused by family relationship breakdown, a drug or alcohol problem or a mental health problem. The purpose of the communities is to support the residents to develop their confidence, skills and abilities in order to begin to live independently and, eventually, to move to a more sustainable living environment away from personal crisis. Living with volunteers helps residents see alternative ways of coping with problems, whilst not being expected to be ‘perfect’ people, volunteers are embedded in the service as positive role models. Both Communities have around six volunteers who live with the residents in the community houses for 6 months. In addition, both communities have a small staff team, whose role it is to assess the residents, provide structured guidance to them, uphold the rules and community agreements, and have overall responsibility for the project. Staff work mainly work standard office hours but are available on call if required. The roles of staff and volunteers are very different. The Role of Volunteers: Volunteers are peer mentors to residents in the communities and do not substitute the work of paid staff. Volunteers and residents live within our community facility and manage the day-to-day domestic tasks and decisions within the community building, which is their home. The process of being involved in decision-making empowers residents and helps to develop their confidence, skills and abilities. We endeavour to create equality between community members (residents and volunteers), but volunteers must note that the young people who come to live here come as a result of their need for support. Volunteer support for a resident may include: accompanying a resident to the job centre, helping a resident to cook a meal for the whole community, acting as a sounding board for a problem, offering mature and calm guidance as to the community agreement and house rules. Outside staffing hours, volunteers maintain a presence in the house (worked out on a rota). Volunteers are encouraged to be alert to any conflict and are expected to remind residents of the rules, if necessary, and use their influence to maintain the ‘community agreement’. They will be vigilant to any issues threatening the health and safety of those present and will call staff and or emergency services if required. Overall, the role is less supervisory and more one of promoting a positive, stimulating environment in which problems of boredom, conflict and other anti-social behaviours will be minimised. A minimum commitment of six months is required from each volunteer to ensure continuity and stability within the houses and to give the volunteer a valid experience of community living. Throughout the placement volunteers have regular time off and a holiday allowance.