Following life-altering spinal surgery which left him paralysed and unable to work, Sanctuary Housing resident Tim Burchell has embraced his situation and is striving to make a positive difference to others through volunteering.
Having previously been a team manager in a call centre, Essex-based Tim, who only has the use of two fingers on his right hand, wanted to maintain his expertise in customer service.
With the support of Sanctuary Housing, Tim completed a computer skills workshop with We Are Digital, which gave him the confidence boost he needed to set up a blog, called Roads of Rayleigh, for other local people with disabilities.
With his strong skillset, Tim went on to secure the voluntary position of resident representative on Sanctuary Housing’s community investment sub-committee, discussing community funding matters with the panel.
Tim reviews the applications that come through for Maureen’s Gift, which provides funding to charities, resident groups and voluntary organisations in need of financial help to deliver community activities in the Rochford district.
He said: “I do have a lot of time and it would feel wrong not to give something back to the community.”
Tim also volunteers for Castle Point Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) Befriending Scheme, where he is paired with people in the community who would benefit from companionship and having someone to talk to on a regular basis.
At his first befriending meeting, Tim was able to signpost a resident with the knowledge he had gained at the sub-committee, and voice their concerns at the next meeting.
Tim commented: “Whilst their issue couldn’t be resolved there and then, I was happy that I knew how to get things moving for them and enable them to take a step in the right direction.”
Chris Silvey, Sanctuary Housing’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, added: “Tim’s portfolio of volunteering reaches a lot of people in the Rochford district, and he plays a crucial part in shaping some of our services.
“We would like to thank Tim for his dedication and positive attitude.”