Sorting buttons into sizes and colours in a Refurbishment Centre
Your volunteer opportunities in our Refurbishment Centres
There are so many opportunities, there must be one for you!
It's all hands on deck when the vans come back loaded with tools. A friendly welcome is always needed when a supporter brings in tools to donate. Then, with a van unloaded into our donation bay, the tools need to be sorted into trades and either boxed up to be sent on to another centre for refurbishing or sorted into crates for the refurbishing teams across the centre to collect.
In each of our centres, we have teams of people refurbishing tools. This ranges from saw sharpening, plane restoration, drill sharpening and any number of other tasks to ensure all the tools go on to last many more years.
All power tools need PAT testing and checking to ensure they are safe to use. It may just mean replacing a plug, or it can be taking the cover off for a detailed inspection. Power tools range from DIY drills to large free standing industrial pillar drills.
Following detailed kit lists, teams assemble, Builders' Kits, Carpenters' Kits, Plumbers' Kits. Electricians' Kits plus Carpentry and Mechanics' Workshop Kits.
We send literally thousands of Sewing Machines to Africa ranging from treadle, manual, electric and industrial. We have a great team who inspect, repair and refurbish all our machines. Full training is given.
Knitting machines also need inspecting, repairing and refurbishing and we have a small team keeping us well stocked with ready to send machines. Full training is given.
Every sewing machine goes out with a Haberdashery Kit with cottons, buttons and an assortment of things needed by a tailor. The Haberdashery Team put thousands of these kits together every year. They also sort through donated materials and box it up to send to Africa.
Knitting Machines are sent out with sacks of machine wool which the Knitting Team sort out. They also prepare Hand Knitting Kits comprising needles, patterns and everything a hand knitter may need.
What attracted you to this volunteering role?
I retired having spent 20 years as a lab technician and wanted to use my practical skills and experience to benefit a community organisation. I saw this role advertised and liked the idea of giving people the chance to learn new skills and lift themselves out of poverty.
What is a typical volunteering day for you?
I arrive at 10am and after a drink and chat, see what the days jobs are. I spend most time working on all sorts of old sewing machines, each with its own challenges, but also help with incoming donations and tidying the workshop. Lunchtime is a social time and the afternoon is quite short as we finish at 3pm
Computers are in huge demand and the IT team wipe donated computers and laptops to Government Security standards and reinstall the operating system and software. They also add memory and upgrade older computers.
Finally everything has to be prepared and loaded into containers to ship to Africa. This team helps to get the kits together for loading and then finally help to load the container.
We also have driving teams who go out throughout England and Wales collecting tools from our volunteer collectors. This means helping to load and unload the van, plus the opportunity to meet many of our collectors and supporters.
What we offer
You can expect:
A warm welcome into a friendly team
An induction into the role and building
Regular reviews to ensure you are happy with the work you are doing and the support you are receiving
Training where required
A volunteer handbook
A named contact for support
What we expect
You to be diligent and accurate in your role
To be polite and respectful to your fellow volunteers, staff and supporters
To follow Health and Safety Guidelines
To ask if you need help
To volunteer on a regular agreed basis each week
To be committed and reliable
To be flexible and open to help where needed
Finally to enjoy yourself in the friendly, welcoming TWAM family!