Good morning and welcome to another day into the volunteering roles Alex Ashworth is committing to in his local community.
This morning I started my first day volunteering at INTACT. INTACT is based in Ingol near Preston and helps people with enduring mental or physical health problems by means of volunteering activities, roles and responsibilities. Some may be trained to man the reception desk, others may help in the I.T. section. Basically, it's designed as a support outlet and, for some an in-between place from voluntary to paid part time or full time employment.
So I arrived about 9.20am and I was expecting some good weather, due, in part because garden lead Barry Mann forecast it would be nice tomorrow the previous evening via text. Anyway, it was, as unpredictable as ever, throwing it down. Fortunately I came prepared and wore my waterproofs to keep me out of the rain.
Once I'd signed it at reception and showed a kind member of staff my ID for CRB check I made my way to the café and had a coffee till Barry turned up. Barry arrived about 9.45am and he was a little unsure about me working in such torrential rain but my resilience to the wet shone through and I worked for about half an hour or so on the work Barry had planned for me.
Barry gave me an outlined plan of the garden area and he said this will be used in the future in order for me to carry out the work effectively.
Today's task was to plant a number of white onions. The weather wasn't on my side but with some good practical demonstrations as to how to plant them from Barry I was straight on with my assigned job. I used a trowel and a plank to help mark where they should go and plant them accordingly.
After quarter of an hour Barry returned to see how I was getting on and informed me about a club that meets for trips out and about across the Lancashire district. I was unsure about committing myself too much so Barry said he would let me know the dates for trips and I can assess my availability from there on in.
I kept planting the onions till roughly 10.30am then I placed all the tools in the correct place, made my way to my car to remove my boots, put my shoes on and returned to the INTACT centre to wash my hands and have a well earned brew.
As I was washing my hands I met a young man who informed me that Barry is going to cut some keys for me so I can use the shed when he's not around. This gave me confidence in the work I intend to do for INTACT and assured me of Barry's trust in me too.
I chilled out in the café for the next 45 minutes with a coffee and enjoyed the relaxing sounds of Smooth FM. The bonus of being a volunteer at INTACT is that you get your coffee free. That's definitely good in my books.
So as I went to the loo and signed out I looked fondly at INTACT and felt contentment in such a non-judgemental and peaceful environment. I'll be back there on April 12th 2016.
This is Alex Ashworth signing off for another successful session in the voluntary sector.