People have asked me on numerous occasions why I started the skill sharing project a little over four years ago now, the answer is both deeply meaningful and easy.
ATD Fourth World had given me a lot of help and advice while at Frimhurst Family House, and gave me a chance to have somewhere to take stock of where my life was heading. I wanted to give something back somehow.
Now being the sort of chap that’s handy with tools, the obvious way to help was with decorating the place and general upkeep. So I sat down with Stewart a member of the team and laid out my vision, which I am very pleased to say he jumped in with and the Skill Sharing residential project was set in motion.
Now four years down the line the project is still going and its grown in strength, we have been able to have two residential week long stays at Frimhurst Family House, one in the summer and one in the winter over these four years. During these stays we help people learn about painting and other decorating skills. We have added a small kitchen, repaired and repainted windows, decorated bedrooms, replaced flooring, cleared leaves, even dug the first section of the community garden at Frimhurst; to us it hasn’t mattered the job we have dived in and completed the task, as we love the place and it has enabled us to build friendships, learn skills and provide support to everyone who has taken part.
That’s the reason I have done it, and continue to do it, sure it has been stressful and there have been ups and downs, but to see the pride on the guys and girls faces at what they have achieved over the week for me there was no better reward.
So in closing I want to say thank you to ATD Fourth World team that have helped us and all the participants that have taken part over the four and a bit years.
Before the residential stays took place at Frimhurst Family House the main thing that helped inspire me to begin this project was the weekly skill sharing workshops at the ATD Fourth World National Centre at Addington Square London. I was part of the team there that renovated the community kitchen and took part in the attic conversion to provide volunteers accommodation.
By James ATD Fourth World
As an important pillar of our Family Support Programme, our Skill-Sharing Workshops and Access to Volunteering initiative hold fast to the conviction that everyone has something to offer. Our aim is to furnish people with the support and encouragement they need, through concrete volunteering opportunities at our National Centre in London and Frimhurst Family House in Surrey, to be able to contribute to the running of ATD Fourth World.