WHY WE WORK WITH VOLUNTEERS
It's one of our social objectives
As a not-for-profit social enterprise the Project is structured around our social objectives. One of our key objectives, alongside our environmental ethos, is to enable social inclusion by providing a volunteering programme and support through our Volunteering Manager. We believe that social exclusion is tackled by us all broadening our social circles and so we welcome people from all walks of life, backgrounds and motivations for volunteering.
It's good for the Project as a whole
We are dependent on the goodwill, knowledge, skills and time of volunteers to assist us with our eternal work of collecting, disposing, de-nailing, and transforming of waste wood into a valuable and re-usable resource. Volunteers keep the project full of new ideas and energy, and over half of our current paid staff were once volunteers at the Project.
It's good for our volunteers
We aim to provide opportunities for people to become part of a team, increase their confidence, do some physical work, get valuable work experience, gain some woodworking skills, fill their spare time, and know they are doing something worthwhile.
Each day we take a limited number of volunteers to assist in our day-to-day work. We aim to offer an inclusive and sociable environment, with hot drinks, work gear and lunch thrown in, so that volunteers can gain the maximum from their visit here.
INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING?
What will I be doing?
A good introduction to wood recycling is de-nailing and site work as you get to know the other people here and the everyday routine of the site. You can learn how we grade timber for re-use or recycling, what different types of timber there are, and their uses. You will also get an introduction to using hand tools, or a chance to perfect your techniques.
Going out on collections or deliveries as Driver's Mate is often interesting and fun. This involves helping load and unload the van, navigating around Bristol and beyond, helping the driver manoeuvre, and learning about health and safety in vehicles. It involves a lot of heavy lifting and gets you fit!
Once you've been with us for a while, and we have the capacity in the workshop, we'll start the process of training you on power tools and joinery – be prepared to start out with lots of sanding!
What else will I learn?
The most common request from customers is for wood to be cut to size and cleaned up, and you can help with this. We usually start you off with sanding, and once you've got the hang of that we can then train you to use other power tools. In the winter we process our shorter lengths of clean wood to make firewood and kindling, so there's also a lot of chop saw use.
There are always new and interesting workshop orders that need completing, and our site regularly needs maintenance that you can help with. We try to make sure that everyone does a bit of everything, and we plan each volunteer's tasks at the morning meeting each day. In time we hope that you'll learn about different types of wood, their uses and properties – and maybe have a go at designing and making something in the workshop yourself.
Can I get more involved in the Project?
Since 2011 we have run as a cooperative, and we encourage committed volunteers to get involved in some of the broader running of the project. This ranges from attending and taking part in quarterly volunteer meetings, to becoming a Supporter Director on our Board of Directors. Through this inclusivity we wish to create a transparent, participatory and democratic forum for those who give their time to the Project, further reflecting our ideals as a not-for-profit social enterprise.
What are the volunteering hours?
We are open to volunteers Mon-Fri, offering a structured 9am – 5pm day except on a Wednesday when the site does not open until 11am.
We have tea breaks in the mid morning and afternoon, around 11am and 3pm, and sometimes we're lucky enough to have biscuits! We break for lunch at about 12.45pm, and we will cover the cost of your lunch and any agreed travel costs.
When can I come in?
To keep the site safe and to ensure that there are enough tools and tasks for everyone, we usually have space for around 2 to 8 volunteers per day. Each volunteer can come in for a maximum of two days per week. Your volunteering days do not have to follow a regular pattern as we want to ensure that you can make volunteering fit around other aspects of your life.
Who will I be working with?
During the course of each week we welcome 10-15 different volunteers from all walks of life, so there are plenty of new people to meet. We also have a quarterly volunteer's lunch so everyone gets a chance to see each other and catch up.
There are 7 part-time staff members, over half of whom were once volunteers here, and you’ll get to know them too.
WILL I BE SAFE?
Everybody on site must wear steel toecap and mid-sole safety boots at all times. We have many pairs in our boot room and should be able to accommodate your size.
If you would like to bring your own boots you are welcome to do so, but we'll need to check them to make sure that they have the steel toe and mid-sole.
You will need to wear hard-wearing clothes that you don't mind getting dirty, but we will provide you with heavy duty gloves, safety glasses, ear defenders, hard hats, dust masks, hi-visibility and waterproof clothing.
You will be fully inducted and trained on what you need to wear for which tasks.
During your induction you will be informed as to where the First Aid kits are located, and the name of the certified First Aider on duty. Accidents and injuries are rare, but we keep a record of any incidents or near misses, and use these to improve our procedures to ensure your safety.
You will also learn our emergency evacuation procedures, which you should listen to closely as we regularly have practice fire drills when they are least expected!
Only people who have completed induction sessions on power tools may use them and we regularly re-train competent volunteers to ensure that we are all working safely.
As our volunteering programme is very popular, we tend to have a waiting list of potential new volunteers. Don't be put off though, once your name is at the top of the list we will contact you to arrange a tour and a chat about volunteering. We will explain more about the history, aims and objectives of the Project, as well as show you the areas that you will be working in. We will also introduce you to our Project Code, which is something we ask all staff and volunteers to abide by.
We can complete registration forms, and then arrange for a half day's training and induction. Once this is out of the way it is in your hands how much or how little time you would like to volunteer with us, and you can book in for days when you are available.
If you have any further questions or would like to join the waiting list, please contact our Volunteering Manager, Yaz Brien on 0117 972 3219 or volunteering[at]bwrp.org.uk