Where/in what role? I’m a member of Sheffield Tools for Africa (previously TFSR). We renovate hand tools (chisels, saws, hammers ...) and send them to groups that can use them to make positive change in their community. Although most of the tools go, as our name suggests, to Africa, we have also supported a Sheffield group sending tools for a school project in Gambia, a group building a new orphanage in Romania, an allotment group in Sheffield...
Why did you start/why do you do it? I started when I moved to Sheffield in 1990 and only knew a couple of people, one of whom took me along to the group. I’ve stayed partly because I really believe in the principle, and partly because I enjoy the company. But I’ve always volunteered in one capacity or another, and see it as an important part of ‘who I am’.
How do you manage your time between volunteering and work? It’s on a Tuesday evening, so perfect to fit around full time work.
What do you enjoy about it? The physical skills – putting new handles on hammers, scraping off rust – and the diverse interests, opinions and experiences of the other people there. We all lean to the left, politically, but Tools is the only common ingredient.
What would you say to someone who was considering volunteering? Give it a go and don’t think too hard about what might go wrong, whether or not you’ll enjoy it and all those other doubts. If one thing is not for you, try something else.