Shop Volunteers, Shelter Scotland

Shelter Scotland was founded in 1968 to campaign against the very visible housing problems in Scotland. There were tens of thousands of people living in slum housing. Nick Hedges, the photographer who worked with Shelter in the 1960s, recorded the housing conditions for the organisation – His photographs provided an inside look at the often derelict, damp, and rat-infested housing that was a reality for many people living in Scotland at the time and were an invaluable resource for the charity to campaign for more and better housing.

While the slum housing is long gone, we’re still facing significant housing problems in Scotland today. These images were developed during the organisation’s 50th Anniversary commemoration, in collaboration with the Glasgow School of Art, and later culminated in an important exhibition. This exhibition was shown throughout Scotland to raise awareness about these issues, which are less visible, but which exist nonetheless. Too many people’s lives are still being devastated by an acute shortage of affordable social homes, harsh welfare reforms, stagnant wages and the prohibitive costs of keeping a roof over their head.

There are 37 Shelter shops in Scotland which help raise essential funds for Shelter Scotland’s support services and campaigning activity. They have an amazing group of volunteers who generously give their time in these shops to support the charity’s endeavours. I photographed several of these volunteers working in shops across Glasgow. These volunteers are an integral part of Shelter's success.


French student Chloe moved to Scotland to complete her degree in neuroscience. After struggling to find a summer job due to a lack of experience, Chloe started volunteering with Shelter Scotland. She has gained valuable skills and she has also enjoyed meeting new people and the sense of satisfaction from doing her part to support her community.


Previously an Intensive Care Nurse, Jackie has been volunteering with Shelter Scotland for two years. Having moved back to the UK from New Zealand, Jackie was particularly taken aback by the increasing prevalence of homelessness in the UK and felt very strongly about wanting to give something back to her community as a volunteer.


Gerry has been volunteering for a year. He spends five days a week volunteering for Shelter Scotland and two days for the British Heart Foundation. He started volunteering at the recommendation of a friend and has done so ever since. Gerry especially enjoys the social element of working in a shop and enjoys meeting new people.