Neil's story

Volunteer Neil

I’m Neil and I work with my fellow upcyclers at Emmaus Merseyside. I’ve been volunteering here for just over a year, working between one and three days per week.

I was scrolling through websites looking for something to do and this role appealed to me. I also saw the Emmaus van a few times collecting furniture from neighbours houses so that prompted me to make enquiries and find out more. I thought it was a worthwhile cause, doing something I’ve enjoyed doing for many years and an opportunity to make different contacts and friends.

Our typical day is spent transforming a wide range of furniture items. We take furniture in, assess it to see if it’s worth upgrading and whether it’ll make more money than it would do without any work. Often there may be furniture items that are looking tired, water damaged or just need some basic repairs.

We then think what treatment would work best and what would appeal to the public that might want to buy it. We obviously try to brighten things up rather than the traditional stained varnish look. We use different paints, colours, decoupage and shabby chic treatments because a lot of people have different tastes.

I enjoy the feeling of making these pieces, the process of accomplishing a project and the idea that something you’ve been a major part of is desired by somebody else. Everybody wins as the customers are buying these items at a good price and that money is used to support the work of Emmaus locally.

I also do little bits of helping to move furniture around in the shop, helping companions and assisting customers to get the items to their cars. Everybody at Emmaus Merseyside is working towards a worthy cause and helping out wherever they can.