I’m Michael and I’ve been a volunteer at Glasgow Wood Recycling since April 2019.

I first found out about Glasgow Wood Recycling when I was looking to buy wood, and came across the GWR website. I noticed there that you did volunteering. I suffer from a bit of depression and also sleep apnea, so I’ve been quite isolated in my life. One of the things I’ve been doing with my time is remodelling my house – and I found I really enjoy working with wood. So I felt really good about volunteering, meeting new people and learning new skills with woodwork as well.

Meeting New People

Because I have sleep apnea, I can’t work full days, so it was really good that this place basically let me work my own time. Before volunteering here I was training to be a primary school teacher. I went to Uni as a mature student to do the post-grad teaching course. I’d passed two of my placements, passed my three main essays and had one placement left to do. But I just felt ill. That’s why I dropped out.

So volunteering here has been great from a mental point of view more than anything else. A lot of my friends live in Edinburgh and because of my sleep apnea, I can’t travel. By one or two o’clock in the afternoon, I’m just too tired. As I said, I’ve become very isolated, so this Friday volunteering thing has just been brilliant. It just gets me up and it has been fantastic for learning new skills and meeting all the guys. I’ve met some really interesting people. The generosity and friendship around here is nice. So I look forward to it every week.

New Skills

I’ve been learning all the different machines, I’ve been doing different cuts, building and finishing things. I’ve made raised beds, planters and helped put together benches. I’ve added the finishing touches, sanding, a wee bit of painting to some of the bigger projects as well. When you see the final product; even if you only do a little part of it, like finishing or painting it, it feels satisfying.

I think that I’m just willing to muck in and try anything. There’s nothing that I’m not willing to try, and there’s nothing I don’t think GWR has been unwilling to give me a go at. I’ve got a questioning mind and one of the things I love about this place is that you can just ask for advice – the woodworkers will teach you things and pass on their experience.

 


 

These volunteer interviews were conducted as part of ‘Designs on Growth’ – our in-house design project funded by the Scottish Government and European Union. Volunteers are at the heart of what Glasgow Wood Recycling does – so we wanted to update our print and digital marketing materials with new volunteer stories!

The Social Economy Growth Fund gave backing to 22 charity groups and community organisations across the country – with our social enterprise receiving a grant of over £100,000 to support our progression and create three new posts. Read more here.

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