We have amazing people in the Repair Cafe Wales Family
As part of a series on getting to know our volunteers, we’ve set a series of questions and our amazing volunteers have answered them ‘virtually’ for us.
Next up in the series is our Board Director, Ceri
Q. What is your name, when did you start volunteering with Repair Cafe Wales and in what capacity (role / skill)?
A. My name is Ceri Davies and I have formally been with Repair Cafe Wales since spring last year, although I have been trying to help them in various ways for the past couple of years. For an organisation that relies on practical skills to get so much done I am ashamed to say I am contributing my white collar skills and experience as a board member and public policy knowledge in this area as a Director on the board. However, I am upping my repair skills, but it will be some time until I’m let loose at a repair café!
Q. Why did you decide to volunteer with Repair Cafe Wales?
A. Repair Cafe Wales has been something I have engaged with since they launched and I’m a regular at the repair cafés in my neighbourhood. The on the ground practical, lets do it attitude on making improvements to society, is something that resonates with me and I have long been a supporter of them and others who take this bull by the horns approach to improving communities and society. When I saw an opportunity to help in the best way I can, I jumped at the chance to work with and contribute to such an innovative and impressive organisation.
Q. What do you like best about Repair Cafe Wales?
A. There is so much to like, but for me the best thing is that its people doing it for themselves, not waiting or asking to do something, seeing what needs to be done and doing it. It is a fantastic attitude to have, inspirational, and the only way I think we are going to solve some of the problems we have as a society. No one else is going to fix things, the repair café for me is a metaphor for a much greater repair we are working on.
Q. What is your favourite part of volunteering with us?
A. I volunteer a lot in a variety of settings and with several organisations, and you cannot beat the sense of achievement on seeing something meaningful done, be it a local litter pick or the opening of a new stretch of canal! What my skills allow me to do with Repair Cafe Wales is less like that as I am using other skills, but its still the feeling of getting something meaningful achieved, and lives improved that makes it worthwhile.
Q. What do you think the repair café events do for the community?
A. I have been a regular at repair cafés in my community since they started. They do so much, yes, they help repair things and of course that saves waste and carbon, all those things that you would expect, and the repair cafés want to achieve and measure. But so much of what the repair cafés do is what you can’t see, the community meeting together over a cup of tea, the interest in repairs and the sharing of skills that the volunteers are happy to give. The confidence they give to people to try something for themselves, things you cannot measure. I suppose it’s often not so much what the repair cafés do for the community, but often that they are helping create communities.
Q. Have you gained any skills from the experience?
A. I think I am always trying to learn with whatever I do, and part of the joy of volunteering is what you can get out of it yourself, I recognise that. At a practical level I am far more inclined to try and fix things myself since I engaged with Repair Cafe Wales from family bikes through to my iPhone! I’ve gained a lot of confidence in undertaking practical tasks I never would have before, even fixing a toilet in the house this week. But I think I am also developing in my professional area that I wanted to bring to the organisation. In developing the strategy and other plans I am learning more about the sector and the wider aims and outcomes we can generate, it all helps me develop.
Q. How does volunteering with Repair Cafe Wales make you feel?
A.Working with my fellow board members and team and seeing what we can help facilitate gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. It also gives me real belief in the problems we face in society, and let’s be honest, currently they are pretty big, that we will tackle them, the belief and dedication that so many people can bring to things is truly inspirational. We just need to make it happen more often.
Q. Would you recommend volunteering for Repair Cafe Wales? Why?
A.I would recommend volunteering full stop, volunteering in whatever you do can be so rewarding both to you and to others. Repair Cafe Wales is no exception. It is great in so many ways and if you have skills that can be used in any way, especially those practical on the ground skills that we need, then what better way to use them than making a difference to your community and society. It is also great to see skills being shared and passed on and confidence being given. Repair Cafe Wales is at the forefront of a change in society I think, we are seeing people not looking to others, but doing it for themselves, its inspirational.