Surrey Van Coordinator

What attracted you to TWAM and this role?

I retired quite early, at 56, but didn't want to just sit around doing nothing.  David Sayers, who goes to my church approached me about taking over the role from him.  I had a background in Engineering/Supply chain and general management, and when I visited Ipswich and saw the scale of the operation, I knew this was where God would have me serve.

Tell us a little about a typical day?

We do regular pickups from about 22 collector's ranging geographically from Dorchester to Croydon, Chichester to Melksham as well as trips to Ipswich.  I schedule the drivers and loaders for these. In addition, I am the main collector in my area so am often also picking up other tools in the van or my car and storing them in my garage!

What's your favourite thing about volunteering?

Meeting lots of different people, and sharing with them what we do with the tools and how this impacts lives in Africa

What would you say you have gained from this role?

Amazement at what tools people have hidden away in their garages!  Seriously, I would have to say a real understanding of how something we might view as worthless and fit for the dump can make a difference to the life of someone somewhere else in the world.

As the Van Manager what do you find most rewarding and most challenging about working with volunteers?

It's rewarding to see how flexible and dedicated to their roles my volunteers and collectors are, willing to go the extra mile, often literally, to fit pick ups in.   The challenge though is that despite this dedication and flexibility, it can be difficult fitting in extra pick ups as the schedule has very little slack!

What do you think are the benefits of volunteering?

Volunteering is a great way for men who may otherwise vegetate in retirement to get out and about and meet people. Loading and unloading the van also helps keep you fit, and thirdly getting to know people as there is plenty of time to chat whilst you are driving to a pick up somewhere.

And finally, in a brief sentence, why do you think people should consider volunteering for TWAM as a driver?

There is no better way to serve and help others, both here and in Africa and if we had more van drivers and loaders, this would enable us to do even more than we do at present

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