u-turn 25 birthday

U-Do: Ways You Help

Buy Vouchers

Vouchers provide meals and clothing, as well as support and rehabilitation. By removing cash, they reduce drug use too.

Donate Funds

Sponsor basic needs, rehabilitation, skills and training and work opportunities. Turn someone’s life around.

Recycle Goods

Give new life to your second hand goods. You can either drop-off or arrange for collection for large donations.

Charity Shop

Purchase with purpose.
In addition to great products, U-turn shops training and work opportunities for formerly homeless clients.

U-can: Work With Us

U-turn is a thriving non-profit that exists to give people and communities the skills to overcome homelessness. We are actively working to expand the programme to more locations in Cape Town and across South Africa. Below is a list of currently available roles.

Available Position

Shop Manager: Durbanville


U-turn is a thriving non-profit that exist to give homeless people the skills to overcome homelessness. Founded in 1997, we believe in life after homelessness. We believe that every homeless individual should have access to an effective pathway that addresses their physical, spiritual and emotional needs so they can leave the streets and become a long-term productive member of society.

To help homeless people overcome homelessness we operate a phased rehabilitation programme that gives individuals new ways of thinking (via Substance abuse rehab, direct training and Occupational Therapy) as well as work places (offered in our social enterprises) where candidates can test and apply the training they’ve received. In the process, the programme inculcates a healthy work ethic, furnish modern job skills and give 18-24 months of real work experience so that individuals can graduate and be gainfully employed in the modern South African economy.

The programme is yielding wonderful results. Our candidates typically graduate into open market employment and show an 83% long term success rate! We are actively working to expand the programme to more locations in Cape Town and across South Africa.

The position – retail with purpose

There is an opportunity for a person with strong retail skills and experience to join the U-turn team as Shop Manager thus giving them the opportunity to apply their professional retail skills in a development setting.

Reporting directly to the Retail Operations Manager, the candidate will apply their retail skills to run our retails store in Parow to grow sales and profitability. At the same time, the person will be managing a team of sales assistants who were formerly homeless and are currently on the U-turn work- rehabilitation programme.

The ideal candidate is someone who is happy to work in an organisation with strong Christian motivations, displays a passion to see people grow (i.e. to work developmentally) and is excellent at customer service. This is a full time position.

Key areas of responsibility
  • Manage a U-turn charity store to meet sales targets, including motivating staff to do so.
  • Provide excellent customer service, dealing effectively with complaints and queries, and encouraging customers to join the U-turn loyalty programme.
  • Ensure cash and stock handling at the store is done as per instructions
  • Preparing promotional materials and displays
  • Ensure the store is a therapeutic space for those on the U-turn Life Change Programme.
  • Provide training for and day to day management of store assistants, including task allocation, leave days, adherence to the disciplinary code, and supporting the unique growth journey of each person.
  • Maintain, update, and enforce safety and security procedures.
  • Previous experience in the retail sector (essential)
  • Experience as a duty manager/ assistant manager or a manager in a retail setting (desirable)
  • Excellent communication skills – verbal and written
  • Well developed interpersonal skills
  • Excellent organisational skills and ability to prioritise
  • A collaborative team player – concerned with the team success as well as individual performance
  • Ability to motivate, coach and develop people
  • Commercial awareness
Personal Attributes
  • Self-starter – high energy levels, able to self-direct their work to hit targets.
  • Enthusiastic and confident
  • Resourceful
  • Trustworthy – works with integrity
  • Good Listener – will challenge constructively and respond well to feedback
Next Steps

Candidates interested in this position should apply to recruitment@homeless.org.za. You must include a CV and a letter of motivation and a photo of yourself as part of the application. The letter of motivation should be approximately 1 page in length and include information on why you would like to work at U-turn and how you fulfil the required skills and attitudes outlined above. Applications without a letter of motivation will NOT be considered.

U-can: Volunteer your time and skills

With around 10,000 people homeless in Cape Town and growing numbers globally, U-turn appreciates the urgency and responsibility we hold to provide more people with access to our rehabilitation and skills development programme. We cannot achieve this without our team of passionate, driven and committed volunteers.

If you have time, energy, knowledge and/or skills to spare, we would be grateful if you would commit it to helping to provide a pathway out of homelessness for more people.

Apply for any of the roles listed below by reading the details for the role and filling in the related Volunteer Application Form.

If none of the roles below are relevant to your skills and experience, please feel free to email us at volunteers@homeless.org.za including details of how you would like to volunteer at U-turn.

Church Representative

U-turn is a Christian organisation. It is only through God’s grace that we are able to run a successful programme and see transformation in the lives of people we serve. Our work is greatly supported by Churches and people motivated by their faith.

U-turn is looking for Church Representatives who can be the bridge between the homeless we serve and your congregation.

With so many passionate churches across Cape Town, we believe that together we can turn the tide on homelessness and provide life after homelessness to more people.

With this in mind, you will ideally have a passion for helping people who are homeless and feel comfortable speaking in front of your congregation.

Once a quarter U-turn will touch base with you to ensure you have material, tools and knowledge needed to speak about the issues and communicate effectively.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Liaise with church elders for regular opportunities to share information about homelessness and U-turn whether during or after services, through newsletters, etc
  • Organise a secondhand U-turn clothing bin for your church
  • Speak at church about long term restitution for the homeless
  • Be the point person at your Church for purchasing U-turn vouchers, as well as for information and news related to homelessness
  • Include U-turn beneficiaries in your congregations’ prayer list

Skills Required:

You will ideally be someone who regularly attends Church with strong interpersonal and communication skills, who feels supportive of U-turn’s work and practical ministry. You would have an interest in growing your knowledgeable about homelessness and solutions to the problem.

Working with: Your own Church congregation and U-turn staff

Frequency: Quarterly meetings with U-turn and Sundays at Church

Where: U-turn head office in Kenilworth for quarterly meetings

Commitment: 6 months or more

Reason for minimun commitment: This role requires gaining in-depth knowledge about U-turn work and the issues around homelessness, additionally forming relationships with your congregation as the “go to” for issues around homelessness and U-turn

To apply: Please submit the volunteer application form

Kitchen Assistant

U-turn serves over 1,000 people every year with meals and clothing. This takes an enormous amount of manpower and is an essential service.

We are always in need of volunteers to assist with cooking particularly on for Saturday services, which is entirely run by volunteers (ingredients and instructions are provided) and serving meals – you don’t need to be a professional chef.

Skills needed:

  • Apart from a friendly and welcoming disposition no formal skills are needed

Working with: U-turn staff, beneficiaries (predominantly first phase, eg. people who are still living on the streets), and volunteers

Frequency:  Weekly commitment (preferably on a Saturday but there may be a need on other days of the week)

Where: U-turn Service Centre, Claremont, corner of Claremont Boulevard and Hawthorne Rd

Commitment minimum: 1 day every week, ongoing

To apply: Please submit the volunteer application form and let us know your availability

Photographer / Videographer (Professional)
  • U-turn has  good stories to tell.  Both the people we serve, who overcome the odds and homelessness, and the community of people who support this transformation have stories that are inspiring and change the way we see our world and ourselves.

    We need you to help us tell these stories effectively.

    You’ll be joining an informal group, called the Media Team. It’s made up of U-turn staff, media professional volunteers and “Life Change champions” on our final phase skills development and rehabilitation programme.

    We meet once a month at our head office in Kenilworth on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon from around 4.30 to 5.30pm, where we share the previous months assignments, laughter and and learning/knowledge.

    In addition to the monthly meetings, there would be assignments and photo opportunities throughout the course of the month depending on your availability.

    U-turn has good relations with Cape Town’s media, and there are frequently publishing opportunities for relevant content.

    Skills needed:

    • A passion for or professional knowledge of photography and/or videography
    • Willingness to share you knowledge and collaborate

    Working with: Members of the public, U-turn Staff and U-turn beneficiaries in final phase of skills development

    Where: Apart from monthly meetings at U-turn Head Office (155 2nd Ave, Kenilworth), wherever the story is located

    Commitment minimum: 3 – 6 months

    Reason for minimum commitment: Working alongside U-turn beneficiaries you will be forming relationships that require time and effort to build.

    Line Manager: Rowen Ravera

    To apply: Please submit the volunteer application form (if possible please include links to or a portfolio of your work)