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Meet Rob!

Rob Gardner

Continuing our celebration of volunteers and staff at the Furniture Scheme this month we would like you to say hello to Rob!

Rob Gardner worked at Rockspring for many years before The Furniture Scheme took the building over, so he really is part of the furniture here.

He started as a part-time caretaker, now he is in demand as our general caretaker and assistant overseeing maintenance – he is our ‘go to guy’.

His generous nature and willingness to always be available to help out means he lends a hand wherever he is needed, if there is a staff shortage or emergency situation. Rob kindly took over cooking the community lunch at Rockspring every Thursday when the previous volunteer stopped.

So, get to know Rob…

My background: I have held various roles over the years. I’ve worked at JP Wood & Sons, the turkey factory in Craven Arms, as a farm hand and a steel erector. I started as a caretaker at Rockspring when I moved to Ludlow after getting married.

What my job involves: Essentially, I ensure that all the sites are running well and there are no maintenance problems. I also open up and close the building regularly and book outside contractors for major repair jobs. I usually have a tool belt on and I’m not adverse to getting stuck in with the gardening too – I maintain the grass cutting.

Regular questions I get: Can you do this please? Is the most regular question I get! Or rather, it’s not a question, more of a ‘Rob will do that’. I get alerted about all the issues that need fixing, light bulbs replacing and stock needs purchasing. It is really fulfilling to know that the social enterprise is running well and helping as many people as it can.

A typical day for me: There isn’t really a typical day for me. I have a big list of things to do and I work through it, whenever I find an hour to spare, across all the Furniture Scheme sites.

I work in the warehouse a couple of days a week, I clean the bookshop at Renaissance and also the Sure Start and Baptist Church which neighbour Rockspring too.

But every Thursday I cook the community lunch, so generally a Thursday goes like this:

8am – Arrive at Rockspring, open up and make sure it is clean and tidy.

9am – Tick a few odd jobs off my list if I can and then start laying out the tables for the community lunch.

10am – Begin preparing and cooking lunch for up to 30 people.

12pm – Serve the community lunch.

1pm – Complete the community lunch and begin the tidy up.

2:15pm – Head to Renaissance and fix some book shelves and anything else the needs doing.

3:15pm – Call in at the workshop to complete another job which has been on my list to do.

4pm – Finish for the day.

Something I am proud of since starting at The Furniture Scheme: I’m proud of the way the job and the social enterprise has enabled me to learn new skills to improve the range of things I can do here, it has given me more strings to my bow. Thanks to an award from the Enabling Fund which paid for me to learn to drive, I passed my test and that is what originally helped me become a valued full-time member of staff across all the sites. And just this month I have finished training in PAT testing so I am now able to go and do that at the workshop too.

An interesting fact about me: I have played darts for many years and once beat professional player Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins (who was once world number 4) at an event in Leominster.

The Furniture Scheme was launched over 20 years ago as a way to ensure some of the most excluded members of the community could benefit from recycled household items – but the society has grown and now offers computer courses, carpentry workshops and volunteering in the garden, among other things.

Anyone who would like more information about The Furniture Scheme should call 01584 874922, email info@furniturescheme.co.uk or visit http://www.furniturescheme.co.uk.

November 1, 2018

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