In May this year SLATE worked with St Vincents, CISWO (the Coal Industry Social Welfare
Organisation), Seagulls and Lloyds Banking volunteers to demonstrate the benefits of reuse furniture in a real life environment; a volunteers home!
The volunteer was Eddie Martin who used to work in the coalfields and now volunteers for
St Vincents and SLATE. Despite ill health, Eddie arrives early and stays late, travelling a long distance from South Leeds back to his home in Horsforth.
Eddie always has lots of ideas and participates fully at SLATE – creating positive change. At SLATE, Eddie achieved a level 2 NVQ in challenging adult care standards this year; Eddie acts on that empowerment every day. At St Vincents, Eddie is one of the longest serving
members of the team – he is helpful to others and also represents volunteers at a regional
network. Eddie volunteers 5 days a week and monitors sales targets and makes a real
difference to the success of our organisations.Thanks to the kindness of the Lloyds volunteers and the staff and volunteers at SLATE; Eddie’s home was repainted and minor repairs were undertaken. The living room and bedroom now have lovely new carpets and the bathroom has new vinyl. The walls are now moonlight bay and tropical ocean! Old furniture came to SLATE for resale and Eddie has new items from SLATE refreshing his home and making it a cosy or hygge place to be.
The makeover was the essence of SLATE: reuse, donate and volunteer!
Eddie says “Thank you to everyone who helped, it’s a brilliant job!”
At the Customer Awards today Ian B won in the ‘most helpful’ category, an amazing email testimonial from a delighted customer was read to the room and amid other wonderful nominees Ian won! It goes without saying that we are all extremely proud of Ian and over the moon that he has picked up this award.
The following testimonial goes someway to show the lengths at which Ian will go to provide exceptional customer service.
“I wanted to take the opportunity of writing to you to say how impressed I was with Ian today when I visited SLATE this morning with two of my students. We were just looking for items to improve our 6th form common room and Ian introduced himself and proceeded to give us the best customer experience that we have received in a long time. He asked what we were looking for and showed us various items, and did very well with his “up selling” techniques! Whilst he was talking about items for sale he explained the ethos of SLATE, how he was involved and about all the other opportunities that were available to volunteers. I was very interested in this and talked about a student who I think would benefit from a work placement at the Hillside café. Ian ensured that he took my details to firstly discuss a “deal” on the three items that we were interested in buying, and then my details to forward to yourself to discuss my student. He certainly delivered ‘high’.
Ian is an asset and a fine ambassador for SLATE, and I do hope that we are able to work together in the future.”
Recently the volunteers have received brand new SLATE badges with the new SLATE logo on them. Here is a picture of Ian receiving his new badge from operations manager Dave. All volunteers were super excited to receive this new part of the SLATE uniform and proudly wear them whilst doing their hard work.
Our colleague Patrick Greaux was born in St Kitts in the West Indies in 1958. He and his
mother came over to England when he was just two years old.
After he left school, Patrick went to Potternewton Adult Training Centre, to college and to
Moor End Day Services, run by Leeds City Council. He went to Moor End for many years
and learnt woodwork and upholstery.
When we set up SLATE Furniture Store, he volunteered to come and work with us. He was part of the team, cleaning furniture, moving it and delivering it to customers’ houses. He was a strong and willing worker and always thorough in his cleaning. He would sit on the floor and dust out every drawer in a chest of drawers!
He applied for the paid post of Driver’s Mate and got it. “Got the job, got
the job”, he kept saying, as though he couldn’t quite believe it. This was a real
achievement, to get a paid job and come off benefits. We were all so proud of him!
SLATE was set up to provide furniture for people in need. Through his work, Patrick has
helped hundreds of families get the furniture they need for their homes.
Patrick worked closely with all the drivers out on the van, in the shop and assisting Richard with PAT testing for customers. He loved being one of the lads and joining in with the banter.
Later, when the shop moved to Low Road, Patrick learnt to commute to work by bus, an
extraordinary achievement for someone who hadn’t been out alone before and who could
not read or write.
Patrick sadly died in 2015 and the whole team at SLATE agreed that we should create an
SLATE Award for Special Achievement in his memory.
The first award is made to Lynda Spink who has been the warm heart of SLATE since
December 2011. When Lynda had an unlucky period of ill health in the winter of 2014/2015
she decided to retire. Since retiring Lynda has volunteered at SLATE; first with a clothes
mountain at the warehouse and then at the shop. We all feel so lucky that she remains a
key part of SLATE.
Volunteers Driving day:
A massive thank you to all who supported us on our driving experience day. A big shout out to the intructors too who were great.
The volunteers had the best time and took to driving like naturals.
An inspiring and most special day.