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Sense of Place

Sense of Place

At Tameside Unlocking Potential’s office, Volunteers’ Week usually includes lots of celebrations, events and the consumption of cake. This year, however, we’re having to take a different approach to keep our staff, volunteers and service users safe.

It’s still very important to show our gratitude to our volunteers and to thank them for all their hard work and dedication. This year we are doing it by sharing some of their stories.

Today we would like to thank our three wonderful ‘Sense of Place’ volunteers who have worked on the project for over two-and-a-half years now. The project was set up by Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre working in partnership with Adullam Homes to help people who are socially isolated to gain new skills and confidence.

The first year of the project the volunteers were taught how to:

  • Catalogue, preserve and rehome items and collections
  • Use microfilm machines
  • Conduct individual and group research projects
  • Safely clean and restore damaged items
  • Write blog posts for the community
  • Create prints and banners from lino cuttings
  • Plan and host an exhibition for the public to attend

The group also visited lots of free facilities around Greater Manchester - Cheetham’s Library, People’s History Museum and a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Central Library and Archives+ to name a few.

Each of the volunteers started the project socially isolated with low confidence and they have all progressed tremendously. They are now very chatty and sociable with everyone they meet and mix with from other volunteering groups at the Local Studies and Archives Centre. The three also meet outside of volunteering and attend all Adullam’s other events and projects at Tameside Unlocking Potential. They are always very welcoming towards anyone new who attends events and are always willing to help people settle in.

As Volunteer Coordinator I am very proud of these volunteers and the work they do is extremely important. They are currently working on a collection of plans and maps called the ‘Stamford Papers’. The collection is endless, and they chip away at it every week so that it can become accessible for the public. There are lots of people interested in this collection and they even have interest from someone who is writing a book on local history!

Adullam is always trying to show them how important their work is and how much it is appreciated. We were finally able to do this on the scale they deserve when they were nominated for the Volunteer Group of the Year 2019 award at the Greater Manchester and Local Studies Partnership Awards. The award ceremony was held at Central Library in Manchester and saw different volunteers and volunteering groups come together from a wide area.

The evening celebrated all the great work that had gone on across the year. There were chats, food and laughter and our wonderful Adullam volunteers were runners-up among a lengthy list of nominees. I have never been prouder and I saw how much it really meant to them; they never thought they would win or come even close.

Meet the Volunteers

John (pictured below) has been part of the project since day one and loves local history. It has been an absolute honour seeing him grow in skills and confidence over the last couple of years. John now has so much confidence in both his work and himself. He conducts his own research projects, he is writing a novel and has also created a comic based on local history. John loves being creative and is always looking for new things to learn and try. He is such a friendly, social and understanding person and we were really pleased when he recently agreed to become a Peer Mentor for us. He took the eight-week course and passed with flying colours. John loves watching films and travelling to different towns, cities and markets. He is an excellent volunteer.

Norman (pictured below) has also been a part of the project since day one and gets involved with a lot of events and projects across Adullam. He is also part of the North West Coproduction committee and attends all the meetings either with us or on our behalf. Norman is our tech wizard and is always there to lend a hand if we need posters, blog posts and booklets making. I think this is where Norman’s passion is, and it really shines through in his work. His confidence has developed immensely since he first started working with Adullam and it’s lovely to see him thrive while volunteering. Norman is a friendly person who helps people feel welcome at the events. He has a great sense of humour and is always making us laugh with either jokes or his Photoshop skills.  Norman is a great volunteer!

Eric joined the project a little later than the others, but he has learnt so much from John and Norman. He got stuck in right away and I was blown away by how fast he picked everything up and gelled with the others. Eric used to be a postman, so he has a lot of local knowledge and some very interesting tales to tell. Eric has an excellent sense of humour and is always telling us jokes and making us laugh. Eric has always been quite chatty, but his confidence has really come on since he started volunteering. Eric also really loves history and watching history films and documentaries and loves it when we show one at one of our film events. Eric is a brilliant volunteer and I am extremely glad he decided to join the project.

The three of them have formed a wonderful friendship and all work and compliment each other really well. They dedicate so much of their time and effort to Adullam and the Sense of Place project and we can always rely on them to get stuck into something new. They love a challenge and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them complain once about any task they’ve done. They are a real credit to Adullam.

We would like to thank all of them so much for their tireless support, time, hard-work and dedication. We are enormously proud of our volunteers and I honestly could not ask for a better team. I very much look forward to being able to celebrate them -properly, with cake – when everything is back to normal.

John, Norman and Eric, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Heather Butterworth, Volunteer Coordinator, Tameside Unlocking Potential