BIkery VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIALS

 

The Centre for Better Health recognises a healthy community is an inclusive community in which individuals can live satisfying and hopeful lives and where there is no stigma about mental ill health.

Our Social Enterprises, Better Health Bakery, Better Health Bikes and Better Health Products, are each a thriving example of this ethos in practice.

Here we celebrate the inspiring stories and work that we see our volunteers producing day-in and day-out. Click below to read about their experiences…

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Matthew

What have been the benefits of volunteering at the bikery?
Got to meet a whole bunch of wonderful people, has brought me out of my shell and has given me huge amount of confidence. Thanks to amazing support and advice from the staff - job ads from the Employment Lead, advice from the Commercial Lead and tips from the mechanics - I got a job! This is a very comfortable place to grow.

What have you done well that you can be proud of?
I have built quite a few bicycles which I am quite proud of every time one of them sells in the shop. I also did a Lands End to John O'Groats charity cycle ride, raising over £1k for the charity - it took 19 days (with beer stops)!

Name one thing that inspires you about this kind of work and what you have most connected with.
Inspiration comes from the creativity of taking a rusty old piece of junk and creating something new out of it. It's very logical in that there's a right and a wrong way to do things, but bringing all the pieces together to create a unique product is very special and the fact that the product is created by people recovering from mental ill-health is what makes Better Health Bikes stand out from all the other bike shops in town!

What advice could you offer to a new volunteer starting at the bikery?
Push the envelope, enjoy the creative process, use all the posh components that are available in the workshop to create a shiny new object (as well as the standard bikes that the shop needs to sell). Don't be worried about what you don’t know and ask as many questions as you possibly can. Use it as an opportunity to learn and if something is taking too long, don't sweat it!

How has this experience influenced your ideas about the work place?
I've been self-employed for most of my professional career so don't have much to compare to. However, the idea of having vulnerable people in the workplace isn't usually associated with productivity, but here you're learning and growing. To an outside observer it might give them different ideas about who they can employ in the future.

How do you see yourself applying what you have learnt here in the future?
Everything will be applied - you guys (and YouTube) taught me everything I know about bikes. Before volunteering here I'd done a strip and rebuild of a vintage Peugeot, which is what gave me the bug to work on bikes and led me to volunteering in the first place.

What are you doing now that you have finished volunteering?
I will be working full-time in a bicycle shop, two minutes from my house, getting paid to do what I enjoy!