Kallum Thomas – volunteer bike mechanic

Volunteer mechanic Kallum Thomas of Ceracycloan in Stockport
Volunteer mechanic Kallum Thomas of Ceracycloan in Stockport
Kallum, age 17, lives in foster care in Stockport. He supports Ceracycloan and is looking forward to starting an apprenticeship at the organisation in the near future. Kallum describes how and why he became a volunteer mechanic

Full name, occupation, area you live in and name of group or activity you support:

Kallum Thomas, age 17, volunteer bike mechanic at Ceracycloan in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

What made you decide to volunteer your skills with Cycling UK or a Cycling UK registered group?

I was initially referred to Ceracycloan via social care as I did not attend school for approximately three years. I isolated myself and did not mix in groups and did not engage in much.

I liked the idea of cycling and learning about bikes and how to fix them, I liked the sound of Ceracycloan so I thought I'd attend once or twice but I was hooked after two sessions. Since then, I have not stopped attending. 

How much time were you able to commit?

Five days per week, 9.30am to 6pm. 

Which activity or activities do you support?

I have supported the peer mentoring of other young people maintaining bikes and I have passed my Cycle Tecnician course with Ceracycloan. I have also learnt and supported the Arts and Design side of the company and have learnt to make many items from old bike parts such as jewellery, belts and tables.

I have attended many events helping to collect market research, facilitate bike checks and have completed much more since being at Ceracycloan.

What is the greatest challenge you have encountered?

I have had to look at myself, grow in confidence, learn different things and mix with people and groups.

Describe a typical day in your volunteer role

My typical day is dependent on what needs doing that day, such as I may be working in the bike workshop, building/repairing or seeing to customers or I may be working in the arts and design workshop making various innovative items, which also allows me to be creative. 

Of all the tasks you have helped with, what are you most proud of?

Every task I do gives me a different sense of accomplishment ie making something from old parts, proud I've made it, dealing with customers makes me happy that they leave happy, building or repairing a bike makes me feel proud I have the skills and knoweldge to do so. I also feel lucky I have had this opportunity and proud that I have engaged in it and achieved. 

What do you get out of the experience of volunteering?

Knowledge, skills, a sense of pride, personal satisfaction and I feel part of a team which is like a supportive family. 

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with Ceracycloan/Cycling UK?

Be yourself, be open-minded, be ready to learn, have fun, engage and embrace the team spirit.