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7th October 2019

Saving Svanskär

Save Svanskar boat towed out of the water at Underfall Yard in Bristol

Following a sad break-up early this year, I found myself with all this new time to spare. I'm not one to complain about having free time but it doesn't necessarily make you more productive unfortunately. Keeping busy did help take my mind off things and now I'm more motivated than ever to travel and experience new things. One thing I had always been interested in but never pursued was volunteering. Not sure where or when but if i could lend some spare time helping others then I could see the value in that - I've always been passionate about working on things. Also I didn't fancy taking up the gym or paying for some other hobby just for the sake of it.

So I entertained the idea for a little while, looking at ads on Reed, talking to friends and having a general scout for anything of interest. The National Autistic Society needed a buddy for 1-2 evenings a week for a couple hours so I applied. Disappointingly I never heard anything back and reflecting on it now, I should have fished for a proper response. It would have been really useful and rewarding working with youngsters on the autistic spectrum.

At some point along the line, I installed an app called HelpfulPeeps. A free place to post any favours or offer help to others. There's some incredibly humbling things happening on it, where total strangers impart knowledge, advice or offer help where they can. It's all self regulated and you're encouraged to swap skills instead of money.

"Painters needed to restore our boat" the ad read or something along these lines. When you clicked through to read more, it gave an account of how Greg and Tash came to own Svanskär, an old Swedish fishing vessel which had fell into disrepair. They described how much of a challenge it is and will continue to be but wanted to give it a new lease of life. There was no sign up to be a volunteer, more "any help is welcome". So that Saturday, I nipped over to Underfall Yard - where Svanskär had been towed out of the water in order to work on it's hull. Ultimately to protect it and keep it water tight.

Content-Style

Reusing some leftover wood, I created this A-frame sign for Greg and Tash to signpost their fundraising goal and encourage more people to get involved.

Since that first day, I've really enjoyed being part of something bigger. And whilst I have no clue about Boats, they've been really supportive and I've got to learn about knots, woodwork and Fenders (not the guitar). Everyone I've met has a wealth of different skills and ideas which brings so much to the experience. We also have a good laugh! There's no getting rid of me yet and I hope to continue helping them where and when I can.

If you want to know more or fancy getting involved, please send me a message or visit the links below.

For updates and a record of the work we've been doing, go here. If you're able to help us fundraise, you can donate here or help spread the word by sharing the same link.