Volunteering at Lincolnshire Show 2019

A lot of planning goes into a huge event like the Lincolnshire Show and this year three YMCA residents, Alistair, Mark and Steve, volunteered to help out with preparations before the event. Carl, one of our Housing Officers, went along with them and below he tells us how they got on…

After much preparation from myself and Sonia, our Resident Engagement Tutor, I went with three incredible residents to volunteer at the Lincolnshire Show last Friday .

The day began and it was pouring down with rain. Once we arrived at The Showrground we met Mr Curtis and were told  our first job – cleaning out the pig pens. As you can probably imagine, at this point I was beginning to regret our decision to help out!

Our residents weren’t dismayed though, they got straight to work, completely showing me up. I would class myself as a bit of a grafter, however Alistair, Mark and Steve were working so much harder and to a better standard… I had to lift my game! They all just got on with the job, I hardly heard a peep out of them for hours.

At 10:30 we had our first scheduled coffee break, and looking around I could see we had completed three quarters of the work we were tasked with – almost the majority of the day’s work.

After our coffees, we headed back to the pig pens but were intercepted and asked if we could help to move 130 chairs to the main hall. Alistair, Mark and Steve were straight on it, heavy lifting was no problem for them. It then transpired there were a further 120 chairs and 50 tables that needed to be moved upstairs and another 120 chairs that needed to go downstairs into storage. It was thirsty work but lunchtime was in sight!

We set up the lunch room so it was ready to use as a conference space, and then sat down to eat our sandwiches. This is where I had an opportunity to learn a little about Alistair, Mark and Steve, as none of them are residents I support directly.

All three men have a brilliant sense of humour. Alistair and Mark both had me in stitches many times throughout the day. Steve was our leader for the day, he has a great work ethic and is very friendly and supportive too. We were the perfect team!

Mr Curtis joined us for lunch and sat down to hear the residents’ stories too. Each of them have faced their own struggles, but one thing they all did have in common is how grateful they are to be supported by the YMCA. I wanted to include this here as it’s easy to focus on negatives, but all three men spoke not only positively about their journeys but went into depth about the amazing work we do with them.

After lunch we went back to the pig pens to complete our morning task and next it was onto weeding the roundabout. I’m sure none of this sounds especially exciting but our residents loved it, and so did I.

Although we were all aching, Alistair, Mark and Steve all said they could do this every day. They loved every second of it. These three residents are from different areas of our organisation and have developed such close bonds because of this experience. It was hard, honest work, but I am honoured to have spent the day working hard with such incredible people.

Mr Curtis was very happy with the work we completed too and kindly gifted Alistair, Mark and Steve a ticket to the Show. Mr Curtis was particularly impressed by their positive outlook, and said it’s been a very long time that he had seen the pig pens that spotless!