“I retired a few years ago and wanted to be sure I filled my time doing good things, not just to benefit other people but for my own health. One of the first things I did was to volunteer with an organisation that helped bereaved widowers learn to cook and to look after themselves with good nutritious food, passing on a lifetime of skills to men.
“When I was at school, girls learned cooking and boys did woodwork. So having taught the men to cook, it was my turn to learn some carpentry skills. I was delighted when the opportunity became available at St Albans Wood Recycling. I was looking for a volunteering spot that challenged me, something new that I could be part of, and they gave me a great welcome. I got trained in all the hand tools and they even got a specialist in to train me properly on things like the table saw, so I now have a certificate. I couldn’t really lift heavy things and I was a bit worried about that but they all work as a team and help each other out so I was able to tackle any job. I felt a real sense of accomplishment producing items in the workshop and I really looked forward to the banter and stories at the yard.
“It was a lovely surprise to be offered a part time position in the workshop when the project’s carpenter retired. I was delighted to be blazing a trail for women over 60.
“I have had a complete blast at St Albans Wood Recycling. It was totally different from anything I had done before and I built up some great relationships and friendships. I’m not currently able to volunteer because of a health problem, but I still pop in for coffee and I always get a warm welcome. That’s the value of a community project.”