Matthew's story

St Martins portrait of volunteer Matthew Mullen in upholstery workshop  131128  1

I started volunteering in the shop here at Dover four years ago now, helping out both in the shop and the warehouse. I was at college at the time, learning my trade as an upholsterer, and in 2010 I finished my course.

The site here is advantageous in that there is plenty of space for me to spread out my kit, and since I’d been helping out the community by carrying out some of the repairs on damaged furniture, they came up with the idea of offering me a workshop space.

They helped me to put in an application to the Prince’s Trust and my beautiful Singer sewing machine was actually donated to me by a member of sewing club that used to be held here. Being here is great, the companions bring me pieces of furniture that they think I can renovate and I also teach them some of the skills needed to upholster or repair certain items. It’s a really good partnership and I hope that it continues for the foreseeable future.