What attracted you to volunteering for TWAM and to this role in particular?
I relished the opportunity to support a Christian charity working in the developing world in a practical way, rather than just giving money, and using my passion for DIY and woodwork. The TWAM centre was conveniently situated near to where I live and the Team were welcoming and happy to teach me the skills needed to restore any tools that I may not have been familiar with.
What is a typical volunteering shift for you like?
My role involves restoring and repairing carpentry tools, mainly augers, G cramps, screw drivers and set squares. I normally start around 9.30am and check with Ian the Centre Manager if there are any tools that we are short of for the current set of carpentry kits being prepared. Its then a question of checking what stocks we have on the shelves for the next set of kits and working to clean and sharpen the type of tools needed. I also help sort any tools that have come in to the workshop into different types and sizes, ready to be cleaned, repaired and sharpened. We all stop to have lunch together and my shift usually finishes about 3.30pm.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
I think it is having the opportunity to contribute to the supply of kits and sewing machines, and the feeling that in some small way I am helping people in the developing world to have the chance to earn a living and support themselves and their families.
What has been one of the highlights?
I think it would be when the Director from one of the projects which TWAM supports in Africa visited the Coventry workshop and told us about particular examples of how the ways in which the different kits had made such a difference to peoples lives. It was a very humbling experience.
What would you say you have gained from this role?
The chance to be part of a team and an organisation which is making a tangible difference to the lives and circumstances of people less fortunate than ourselves. It is also so encouraging to know that we can take things in that in many cases people would throw away and restore them so that they are of use to others helping them get out of a life of poverty.
Why would you recommend volunteering with TWAM to other people?
TWAM offers a great range of opportunities to put your skills and experience to good use, and in doing so to make a real difference to people’s lives. For me, It fires me up each time I take a set of rusty tools from the ‘in box’ and get them ready to go in the carpentry kits, knowing that this is going to change someone's future.