Independent Refurbishment Centre Manager (Volunteer)
What attracted you to volunteering for TWAM as a Centre Manager?
I had previously volunteered at the TWAM centre in Ipswich but was finding it hard to encourage other volunteers to make the trip and I soon found my car becoming full of tools, so I decided to look for a site for a local centre to store tools. When I found this site it become obvious that it would also make a great place to refurbish tools and offer the opportunity for some activity and friendship to the many local men I came across when volunteering and collecting for TWAM.
Tell us briefly about a typical day for you at the centre
We start at 9.00am on a Friday ( the only day we are currently open). Most of the men have their speciality in which they are competent so they set themselves up in their workspace. Mid morning we have a break for coffee and biscuits and sometimes cake and then carry on with what we were doing previously. Other weeks the roles change over and there may be restocking, packing or investigating of special items or better methods of restoring.
As a volunteer yourself, what's your favourite thing about volunteering?
I love the opportunity to be able to reach out, mainly to retired men, to offer them interests which enable them to build up friendship and fellowship together and help one another. The fact that the finished product is used to rebuild the lives of thousands in Africa is a double bonus. Also, collecting donated items and the conversations that grow from these visits is amazing and uplifting!
What would you say you have gained from this role?
A productive role after retirement… I had a busy life in management and then went to almost nothing. This can make you feel unwanted and useless. This role has given me my confidence back, the structure of setting aside time for a purpose and the thought that I am giving back to the community both locally and globally.
As the Centre Manager what do you find the most rewarding and the most challenging about working with volunteers at your centre?
I really enjoy the banter in the centre and people's willingness to help one another . I love meeting new people and the opportunity to talk at community centres and to church groups.
The challenge is always to find new volunteers. I can meet men who are almost shut up in their sheds all day and it's trying to get them to come along for a look that’s difficult.
What do you think are the benefits of volunteering?
It gives you a new outlook on life, new friendships, a weekly commitment, building confidence and learning new skills and knowing that each tool makes a difference. I could go on…...
And finally, in a brief sentence, why do you think people should consider volunteering for TWAM and at your centre in particular?
Supporting your local centre builds local contacts and offers local opportunities. Supporting TWAM though in any way helps you to be part of making a closer link to a global ministry and reaching out to those in need.