Meet our Volunteer Richard

Re-Cycle saved me!  Do I exaggerate?

 

In my working life, for more than thirty five years, I was a solicitor. If I am entirely honest, retirement (at age 60) in October 2017, was not choice at the pinnacle of a fine career but necessity as depression grew out of the constant un-remitting stress of completing tasks and problem solving against unrealistic time expectations. At the moment I retired, I had not begun to grasp the importance to me of the positive aspects of my work – my brilliant colleagues, every day personal contact with them, the chit-chat or banter between us welded together in our shared daily efforts.

I began to feel worthless and low. I started to retreat into myself – avoiding human contact if I could. It was a dangerous cycle. A very good friend told me “You love cycling and you like to work on bikes too – you should volunteer at Re-Cycle”.

From my first visit to the warehouse at Wormingford, I was amazed by the scope of the challenge the tiny group of full timers and their volunteer supporters had to meet. The extraordinary truth is that every donated bike is valued, even if for spare parts or as scrap! Every penny raised from the sale of refurbished bikes helps meet the objective of sending “Bikes to Africa” and supporting the partner charities in Africa in maintaining life changing, working bicycles, for individuals and communities there who have so little. The variety of the volunteers’ different life experiences is striking too. Like the donated bikes, wherever they come from and whatever their back story, each makes a contribution which is valued in this truly supportive working environment.

Have you ever heard, “The best part of being a volunteer is that if you don’t like it, you can just walk away!”? I don’t see my relationship with Re-Cycle that way. I feel a commitment to the charity, its work and to the full time staff there. I would feel I had let them all down if I didn’t turn up when I had promised to.

My work at Re-Cycle gives me purpose, direction and teaches me new skills. Every day truly is a school day at Wormingford. I feel that what I do is recognised and appreciated and that I am among friends. It helps stop me getting low. I suppose it has come to replace many of the best parts of the working life I left behind when I retired.

I am often told by the retained full-time staff in the warehouse/workshop, and particularly by the office staff, how grateful they are for the efforts of the volunteers – for my efforts. I always say the same thing in reply. “You are kind, but this really is a two-way street! I am glad to come here to do what I can to support this wonderful charity and the work it does. For my own good, I need you to let me come! I should be thanking you!”

 

 

Read more about supporting Re-Cycle HERE

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