Your Volunteering Stories: The County Young People's Team

5th September, 2022 Read time: 3 min

We love hearing about how different teams from across the business are using the volunteering days. This month, we're hearing from the County Young People’s team, who used a whole team volunteer session in order to make a bigger impact on the project and raise team morale.

The chosen charity was the Forces Vets Afloat Project. The aim of the project is to bring together the river and canal community, uniting to help British Forces Veterans get off the streets and into floating homes.

Our first volunteering day was back in March, it was a very cold and wet day, and the initial plans had to be changed at the last minute as the marina had flooded. We were advised to bring our boots and wear protective clothing, which was definitely needed. The first task was Project Aurora - we had to clear the interior so that the charity could identify what needed to be refitted. There was a lot banging and ripping out rotten wood, and even though we couldn’t have picked a worse day for the challenge, everyone got on with it and by the time the afternoon had arrived the canal boat was ready for next stage of Aurora's restoration. Glenis and Andrew were fantastic hosts and ensured the whole team were fed and watered.

We were lucky to be given another chance to volunteer with the same charity. This time we had Project Capricorn and Project Daisy to contend with. Capricorn needed the same attention as Aurora had earlier in the year.

However, Daisy was a much bigger job. Daisy is a 70ft 1912 ex coal canal boat. All the exterior was completed, and our task was to go through the boat, deciding what needed to be thrown and what was of use. We then ensured that the whole boat was cleaned, every corner, every nook and cranny, to ensure she was ready for someone to be able to live there safely and securely off the street. The outside also needed to be cleaned, to ensure she came up sparkling.

It is a good feeling knowing that veterans living on the street, feeling that they have no hope can now use a canal boat that is ready to house at least 8 people, and give them a start in their future life. Not all veterans are able to leave the services, and return to four walls, but with our help and support they now have other options.

The day was extremely different, a beautiful summer day, and the rain stayed away. This time was our turn to repay the charities generosity. Each member of the team brought an item of food and we had a wonderful lunch together. It was a bittersweet moment as we were losing two very valuable team members the following day, but we could take this opportunity to spend time with them, and also use the day to give back to the community.

It was also great to hear from Andrew Flint, the founder of the Forces Vets Afloat Project after our volunteering days had been completed:

I'm writing to you to express my gratitude and thanks to all at the Mansfield branch of Futures Personnel.  My name is Andrew Flint and I'm the founder of the Forces Vets Afloat Project, we are a small foundation who look to take abandoned or disused boats and rehome ex armed forces.

I was contacted via my site by a lady called Jennifer who worked for Futures to ask me if I'd like to be donated the company's charity day to help me, I of course leapt at the chance.

When people offer help it's always 50 / 50 as to if they will turn up or if they will get stuck in, especially if they aren’t being paid to help.

I have to say the people at Futures have been superb, not only to they get stuck in but they do it with a smile and a fantastic attitude.

The first charity day was bitterly cold and wet at Redhill marina, in a muddy field. They helped me strip out the projects first boat the Aurora. The day was awful and the rain didn't let up all day. It didn't detract from the attitude or the work ethic (I will always remember the smile when I gave one lady a sledgehammer and told her to break some panels off a wall).

The second charity day I was offered has just happened at Sawley Marina, we had 2 boats to strip out and clean, Daisy our 70ft flagship boat is now ready to be inhabited thanks to the Futures employee's, not only that but another of our boats Capricorn has had a good clean and sort.

In short, I really cannot thank the guys and girls at Futures enough and I look forward to being able to tell everyone I can about the attitude and the work ethic of these fine people.

 

Since our visit, we heard from Andrew again to give us an update on our work: 

Since your clean, we have a man and his dog who we have successfully rehomed on Daisy.

The plumbing is working and as of today we have the engine ticking over, so pretty soon Daisy will be on her first mission, which is down to Gloucester for a year.

Thanks to yourselves and the team.

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