Volunteer Spotlight: Charlie
Charlie is one of our longest-serving volunteers, with over five years service at Bike for Good. Previously a geologist and a museum curator, Charlie is now retired and in his words, “loving it”.
Charlie, how long have you volunteered at Bike for Good?
I have been volunteering at Bike for Good for over five years, but it seems like almost yesterday that I started. I didn’t know about the organisation before that time, but when I came into the shop at Haugh Road I was immediately met with a smiling face and given a tour. The scale of the operation, the friendliness of staff and the range of activities sold it to me straight away. However, I had also agreed to volunteer at the Commonwealth Games and I did a month with the New Zealand team in the games village, before returning to Bike for Good. Coincidently, at the end of the games the Kiwis donated their village bikes to the charity!
Why did you choose to volunteer at Bike for Good?
I think my reasons for volunteering are not unusual. I love cycling and I want to be active and keep on learning. I feel I have the energy and skills to make a contribution to society and I like to help people. I also volunteer in a sports club and occasionally with a children’s charity.
How do you spend your time here at Bike for Good?
I like getting involved with all aspects of volunteering at Bike for Good. I have helped at events, supported led rides, assisted at Dr Bikes, and driven the van around Glasgow to collect donated bikes.
Mostly, I volunteer on a Wednesday which is the day we take donated bikes up to the prison at Barlinnie where inmates clean and repair them. I return with refurbished bikes, and then unload, document and stack them ready for our mechanics to check them prior to going on sale.
Before this in the morning I do a regular van run to our Glasgow South Hub. I find it really impressive how that facility has developed in the last two years.
Later in the afternoon I help at the Fix Your Own Bike (FYOB) session from 4-8pm. This is probably my favourite part of volunteering. Keeping bikes on the road, recycling parts and helping people learn how to fix their bikes is so in tune with our values at Bike for Good. At FYOB we have a great little team of volunteers (there’s always room for more!) and we have a real good time. The thanks we get from customers in FYOB is really gratifying. It’s a long day for me, but most volunteering sessions are not that long. I’m grateful that the organisation has accommodated me, so I can work at times that suit me.
How has volunteering at Bike for Good impacted your life?
I get a buzz out of volunteering at Bike for Good. Each time I walk up to the front door I know I am going to be welcomed by genuinely warm people. It’s a dynamic and forward-thinking organisation, and it feels good to be part of that. My wife says that volunteering has been great for me, and I agree with her. I have learned lots of new skills (I can now build a wheel from scratch), made lots of new friends, helped lots of people, and hopefully contributed to the development of Bike for Good. Wednesdays at Bike for Good are a regular fixture in my diary that I look forward to.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I have worked in many organisations and observed many more, and I must say that Bike for Good is the most open and friendly I have seen. Everyone is generous with their time and skills. I feel valued. I think our mission and values, and the kind of person they attract, is the reason that Bike for Good is so successful. Collectively, the Board, staff and volunteers are doing a great job at changing lives through cycling!
We are so grateful to Charlie for being a regular, reliable volunteer. More than that, he’s great fun!