Andrew joined CanalAbility in 2012 after hearing about us when volunteering for another charity, Volunteer Action Epping Forest, where he still helps out driving minibuses and for their befriending clubs. Now retired, Andrew is busier than ever with his volunteering commitments, and finds it good fun.
With CanalAbility, he’s trained to become a skipper and enjoys meeting our clients when he’s taking them out on day trips.
“It’s a nice way to meet people,” Andrew says, ”by providing a service to our clients and I can see that I am making a small difference to them.”
In addition, he sees volunteering as a way to get out and about and make new friends amongst the other volunteers. In fact, he recently organised a day trip out on two of our own boats for 24 CanalAbility volunteers and is already organising the next volunteers’ day out after they all enjoyed the day so much.
Andrew has taken to spending more time on boats himself since starting to volunteer for CanalAbility. He has spent two holidays on canal boats and another trip is planned this summer with friends he’s made through volunteering.
One memorable trip with CanalAbility that especially impressed Andrew was when he crewed for a family including a young girl using a wheelchair. Another young girl was pushing the wheelchair so Andrew asked if she was her sister, to be told, no, she was her best friend. This made Andrew once again realise the value of being able to support people with special needs, and how much everyone can benefit from the services we offer, the very core of our principles here at CanalAbility.