A year into his handyperson ‘job’ at Yorkshire Housing’s home improvement agency in Sheffield, a father-of-two is making a difference to the scores of people he helps every month.
As a volunteer, every day can be different, and whether it’s fixing hand rails, putting up pictures or mending fences and sheds, Julian Roberts is affecting people’s lives for the better.
When people help others without asking for anything in return, it shows the best parts of human nature. And we see this in action when someone decides to become a volunteer. People like Julian give others hope that there is still good in the world – and for him, that’s payment enough.
The retired children’s doctor said he looked online for opportunities last year to volunteer and he came across Yorkshire Housing’s HIA scheme.
“I was renovating my daughter’s house at the time,” said Julian. “I spent the previous six months before that remodelling our flat. I thought, ‘hold on a minute, I used to always do these kinds of jobs’. When I was younger I put kitchens in. My dad was a handy sort of guy. Then I thought when I finished my daughter’s house I needed something else to do so I thought I would do something I enjoyed doing.”
Julian got in touch with our team in Sheffield and they got him on board. A year later Julian feels lucky to have found the team. “It is interesting work and good fun going out with the guys. We see all sorts of things.”
Julian works every Monday with a list of jobs that require a handyperson in homes around the Sheffield area – but he’ll always be given jobs that match his skill level while working with other members of the team.
“It is a bit serendipitous in some respects,” he said. “I just sent an email. It was lucky. It is difficult to find the right match in volunteering. Sometimes they just need an extra pair of hands, and it keeps me fit.”
Handyperson team leader Ryan Walker said Julian is a great help and makes the customers’ day. “He is a really pleasant chap. He’s really energetic and is always wanting to learn more.”
Sometimes the HIA handyperson is the only face a customer might see all day, according to Ryan, but with Julian at hand, there is more time to spend with the customer, which means a lot.
“Julian helps with jobs that need two people. We are struggling for people so he is a great resource for us. It also raises our portfolio because people will then want to volunteer for us.”
If you want to find out more about volunteering with any of the Yorkshire Housing teams, you can call 0113 825 6417 or visit the website’s dedicated page here.