Meet our Volunteer – Pat’s Story

How long have you been volunteering at The Brick?
I have been volunteering at The Brick for nearly 5 years and I also work for the charity for 2 days a week.

What is your volunteer role(s)?
I am a mentor at The Brick Works  where I show people how to upcycle furniture that we then sell in the warehouse.

What do you feel is the best bit of your volunteer role?
The best bit for me is seeing the look on people’s faces when they have been given a piece of furniture to up cycle and allowed to use their imagination on how they finish the piece. People don’t realise sometimes that everyone has some level of creativity within them and when you tap into that and encourage them – the look of pride and satisfaction on their faces  is worth a thousand words – especially when that piece is sold – it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Describe a memorable event or anecdote in your time as a volunteer at The Brick that makes you feel good about being part of this organisation.
There are many memorable events, but I feel that the main theme running through working for The Brick is that when you meet someone who has been homeless, and in a lot of cases have hit rock bottom, and then you are able to work with them to change their lives and to watch them grow in confidence – to start to take pride in what they do and realise that they can change their lives makes it all so worthwhile.  Best of all is when they move into their own place and find a job and you look back at where they started and how far they have come.  I must admit the ‘mothering’ instinct kicks in with me and I am like a proud Mum when they ‘ leave the nest’ so to speak.

What are your aspirations for the future within The Brick and in the wider world?
I would ideally like to be working full time for The Brick, it is not like work at all – to quote a Chinese saying – ‘Find a job you like, and you will never work a day in your life’
That is how I feel about The Brick – it is not like work – it is like one big family you just want to spend your time with.

A word of encouragement for anyone considering joining The Brick as a volunteer.
For anyone considering volunteering I would definitely say ‘Go for it!’ Even just a couple of hours a week can help to change someone’s life and that cannot be a bad thing in anyone’s book.  Not only that, but you will also make new friends and be part of a great team of people. So contact The Brick now – you know you want to!!

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The Brick Project offers a huge range of services to people who are homeless, in poverty or facing debt crisis. This includes Crisis Intervention, Hospital to Home, Asset Coaching and Wigan’s largest Foodbank. As its name suggests, it provides a safe, solid building block for people in crisis to begin rebuilding their lives.
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The Brick Shop is a charity shop selling donated goods, often to people on low incomes. The shop gives clothes free of charge to people referred by Wigan Council. The shop is one of the main hubs within its community.

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The Brick Works offers training to increase the employment opportunities for people who are unemployed for a variety of reasons. This may include homelessness or recently housed people referred.

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The Brick Giving aims to put an end to poverty and homelessness in Wigan and Leigh. Our #BrickbyBrick campaign is working to raise £175,000 to purchase The Brick Works and make sure no one in our community is left behind.

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The Brick Re-Use has been set up to help educate people in the Wigan Borough about recycling and re-use. We also turn unwanted goods into lovingly restored furniture for families in need.