Indra Narendran retired from a chartered accountants firm in 2000 and started volunteering for a homelessness project run by Community Service Volunteers in Barnet, North London, a year later.
Why did you start volunteering for CSV? After I lost my parents, I had a lot of time on my hands and I wanted to do something for society. So I joined the charity's Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP).
I meet asylum seekers and advise them on any problems they might have and I serve lunches to homeless people. I also volunteer on other days at the Finchley Memorial Hospital, where I talk to patients who have suffered from strokes.
How much time a week do you volunteer? I spend between eight and nine hours every Monday at RSVP's shelter in Barnet, where I live. I also spend four hours during the weekend with Stepping Stones, a project that provides food to homeless people every Sunday and during bank holidays.
What is your involvement with Stepping Stones? It was my idea and I organise the project. Soon after I started volunteering for CSV I realised that clients were really hungry when they came to see us on Mondays because they did not have anything to eat during the weekend. It took us four months, but we were finally offered premises by the Borough of Barnet. Also, we received £15,000 from the National Lottery last month.
Do you support any other charities? No. I dedicate most of my time to the RSVP.
What do you bring to the people you help? Attention and care. Those who come to the shelter tell us how they really enjoy having someone to talk to. It is like a family.
What was your most poignant moment? When a young homeless man joined us for Christmas. He told me it was the first Christmas he'd ever celebrated.
Unfortunately he was completely paralytic on vodka and ended up collapsing in a public toilet. He died the next summer.