Tony: Greece Jan 2022

My daughter’s been active with refugee support for some time now.

She mentioned that they were opening a new centre in Greece and that they needed help to get the premises ready to open as a new dignity centre. Knowing my lifelong affair with DIY she suggested that I would be just the person for the job!

Having been self employed as a London taxi driver for 45 years and never having worked in a team, I wasn’t sure if I really had something to offer.

After some encouragement, I decided to go for 5 weeks. My main reason was to help with getting the centre ready.

Our 1st week was really busy getting everything we needed to open. We opened the following week, I was still working on the maintenance side but also helped out when it got busy in the shop.

I was put on the car insurance so I was able to pick up supplies for the shop and any materials for the centre.

Paula and the other volunteers were not only great at working at the centre but lovely people to work with.

I started doing more and more work with the refugees, checking people in at the door and ensuring everyone was fully vaccinated. If they weren’t, we would take their list of shopping and do it for them, also making them tea or coffee while they were waiting.

We used to change roles and I was doing more work in the shop helping the refugee’s choose their shopping. It was a truly humbling experience to meet people that had so little but kept on smiling.

While I was there it happened to be my 69th birthday. As it fell on a Saturday the other volunteers suggested that we have a day out. We took a trip into the mountains to one of the biggest gorges in Europe. It was spectacular and a truly memorable birthdays. (Thanks guys)

All in all I had an amazing time. I met some lovely people and experienced teamwork at its best. Turns out I had a lot to offer after all!

If you are reading this I would like to say hi to all the other volunteers of Refugee Support.

If you are reading this and thinking of volunteering, send that text, make that call, write that email. No matter what you give you will get much more in return.

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