Nick – volunteer PAT tester
Nick was out of work and looking for a way to get going when a friend told him about his local Shared Space shop in Westcliff. He nervously applied to join the volunteer team and has grown to become a shift leader who runs the shop and does electrical safety checks on the donations.
Location: Shared Space, Westcliff
Hobby: I like fixing broken things at home, doing up old bikes and tinkering with computers.
I was at a loose end with nothing to do and a friend who volunteers at Shared Space invited me to come down and try volunteering for myself. He thought it would be beneficial for me.
First impressions of volunteering?
I didn’t really know what to expect as it was my first time in a charity shop. It was February, I came in nervous and unconfident. Once I got through the door I soon found it would be one the best things that has ever happened to me.
Why did you volunteer?
I didn’t have a job and I was looking for something to do, some structure and I wanted to learn new skills.
What do you do on an average shift?
I started off steaming clothes as a volunteer but they trained me in PAT testing by paying to put me on a course. Now I am the PAT tester for Shared Space Westcliff. I handle all the mains powered goods that are donated and do a PAT test on them to make sure they are electrically safe. I check the items and keep the records.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering?
I remember the day a customer brought in a radio from a Lancaster Bomber – there was a real buzz in the shop. We phoned up the local museum and they sent someone down to have a look.
I’ve got a reputation among the volunteers as someone who can spot an item of designer clothing at 100 metres in a pile of other donations. I’m interested in good quality clothes brands and just seem to have radar eyes where I can pick them out. It’s good to use that skill to help.
What difference has volunteering made to you?
I feel part of a team and it’s given me structure. It’s one of the best things I have ever done.
Nick says, “It was a positive experience from the start and they made me feel part of the community.”
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