Volunteer Spotlight: Helen
At Bike for Good we have over 65 volunteers. In the last year alone, our volunteers dedicated 4311 hours of their time to us! We simply couldn’t function without the time and spirit of these good-hearted people. So welcome to our new feature, a Volunteer Spotlight. We want to shine a light on the people who make up Bike for Good, and volunteers are an absolutely essential part of our team.
First up, we spoke to Helen (fourth from the left in above picture)…
Helen, why do you choose to volunteer with us at Bike for Good?
I started volunteering at Bike for Good for two primary reasons. Firstly, I wanted to get a better understanding of how a social enterprise truly works, to inform the work that I do to support creative practitioners. Secondly, as a predominantly commuter cyclist I wanted to learn how to maintain and fix my bike to keep me on the road. At the beginning I had also recently gone freelance full time in my work, and I had spare time to offer whilst I built up clients and work. And at the heart of it all, I have always volunteered. Whilst I often feel very busy, I do feel time-rich – and if I can offer this time to causes that I believe in then I will. Cycling is really important to me: practically for commuting, physically for exercise, financially for an affordable travel option, and for maintaining positive mental health. I like to share this passion of mine, and encourage others to experience the benefits.
How do you spend your time here?
I can mostly be found in the workshop amidst donated bikes, often masses of them! Whether moving bikes around the workshop, stripping them down, packing them in a van or labelling them; sorting through donations is a massive part of what Bike for Good do. If I’m not working on donations, I’m often driving the van to pick up bikes, or (my favourite thing) flinging wheels (safely, of course) from the back of a van onto the scrap heap at the metal recycling yard. Occasionally I also help out at events; hanging bunting, serving tea and cake, or supporting cycling activities.
How has volunteering at Bike for Good impacted your life?
Volunteering at Bike for Good makes me a more rounded person. It’s not what I do professionally, or what I do personally. Volunteering here is separate from those areas of my life, yet at the same time informs so much. I volunteer because I believe in the greater good of people, and that when we come together to work towards a common goal we achieve something bigger. Without volunteering at Bike for Good I’d feel imbalanced. I’ve also learnt so much about bikes and cycling which has been a complete bonus – some things I am now much more confident to do myself, and others I still ask for help with! And brilliantly I have been funded to become a Cycle Trainer which is a fantastic and considerable investment by Bike for Good in me, that I am so grateful for.
How has your volunteering impacted the charity?
Alongside my workmates in the warehouse, I have enabled bike donations to come in to Bike for Good and flow into the various elements of the business, allowing refurbished bikes to be built and sold. Just being an extra pair of hands to help out whenever needed is so helpful for Bike for Good; whether that involves lifting and shifting, working with the public, or helping out at events.
What would you like to add?
Although most months I only spend a few hours at Bike for Good, I have never felt so much a part of an organisation, even in previous paid work. I get access to knowledge about what Bike for Good do, who they do it for, what is happening around the charity, and more. I really value the transparency of the organisation, and feel it is a great environment to be a part of. I have also never worked in a place with so many like minded people – all the staff and volunteers are so open, generous, passionate, active, fun, professional and so much more.
A big thanks to Helen for her kind words!