John Maguire is a workshop volunteer at Glasgow Wood Recycling MY name is John Maguire, I’m a retired mental health nurse, and I’ve been volunteering at Glasgow Wood Recycling since 2017.

I’ve always been keen on doing woodwork, learning DIY skills and things like that. After retiring, I had plenty of time on my hands, so my partner suggested it would be a good idea to do a bit of voluntary work. I had worked full time before, with long hours, so I never really felt I had the time to do volunteering. But in my job, we had a lot of contact with voluntary organisations.

I was referring people to volunteering projects for the social inclusion aspect of it – so I was well aware of the benefits.

The opportunity arose to come into Glasgow Wood Recycling to volunteer, and I thought I’d just have a go at it! I haven’t looked back since because it’s been most pleasurable, and quite an education for me as well. I’m learning new skills all the time, and you get to see an end product with the furniture we make – so I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.

I do all sorts of things as a volunteer here. We make indoor and outdoor furniture from reclaimed wood – so I might be working on a dining table, a chair or a wooden planter box. I could be in the finishing room or putting units together. I’ve also done work on-site, such as repairing planters and installing items in schools.

It’s quite remarkable the amount of skills I’ve learned here: building and structuring things; reading diagrams; using tools. There’s no great expectation that you’re going to do it perfectly though – and I like that. You just try to do your best, and when you complete something, it’s really a good sense of achievement. At home I’ve started doing my own projects. So it gives me confidence to attempt things that I wouldn’t have before.

Socially it’s quite entertaining as well - the people here are great. I really enjoy the camaraderie and there’s a whole mix of people that come in, with varied backgrounds and life experiences. It’s interesting to hear about how people got involved with the organisation. It’s a fun atmosphere, you get a wee bit of banter, and you get that social contact. And our input as volunteers is really appreciated by everybody here – so it’s all very positive.

Doing what I did before, the stress levels were really, really high – that doesn’t happen here. Even just sanding a piece of wood is so relaxing, and kind of good for your psyche I think! You get a sense of wellbeing when you’re doing it – a wee bit of escapism.