The Tuesday volunteers here at Portland Works are a important part of our team. Their help and determination have been crucial in saving the building and creating the thriving community we have today. We had to suspend volunteer workdays during lockdown and their presence once a week was missed very much. This week, we spoke with Stephen, a volunteer handyman and shareholder at the Works about this and his involvement with the organisation.
Stephen first heard about the unfortunate state of Portland Works in 2012. “I’m not always inclined to want to save Sheffield’s industrial buildings just for the sake of it,” said Stephen in an interview at the time. “Portland Works was different. The prospect of converting a structure like this to housing didn’t seem right and the idea to preserve its heritage and continue its use as a factory with tenanted workshop units was enough to make me decide to invest in the community ownership plan to buy the works”.
Since then, Stephen has been involved in so many tasks in our renovation. From removing brick courses up the scaffolding on the chimney; painting rooms and corridors; running cables; stripping walls; as well as roof repairs and collecting materials, he has never been afraid of getting his hands dirty and getting the job done.
“Having been a shareholder since 2013 and a frequent attendee at AGMs, open days and parties, I eventually applied to join the Tuesday volunteers and was welcomed into the established, well-organised team.”
During his time away, he has missed the companionship, the social aspect of taking part in a volunteer scheme as well as the commitment to a regular day each week. As a pensioner, Stephen likes to fill his spare time with a variety of occupations and was keen to resume activities at Portland Works as soon as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. He says all volunteers appreciate the support and planning behind all of the volunteer endeavours and enjoy the opportunities and challenges that their collective efforts encounter. And above all, it’s good fun.
Learn more about volunteering and apply to join our team here.