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Volunteers’ Week: Good Neighbour Charlie Fernandez

Charlie got involved with volunteering as he doesn’t like sitting around. He has worked all his life, starting off as a merchant navy engineer and then became a mechanical engineer. Charlie’s wife passed away four years ago and the company he was working for asked if he wanted to take retirement but advised him to ‘not sell his tools’. In terms of volunteering, Charlie had a look online and VODA came up. Being semi-retired and doing some volunteering ‘breaks the day/week up nicely.’

Charlie started with Family Gateway delivering meals from Howden, which is pretty regular so he gets to chat to people. Once his enhanced DBS came through, he also starting doing grocery shopping using the Volunteero app. Charlie finds this works well as you can choose how much you want to do and it only involves the click of a button. He does get the odd text message from the Good Neighbours team asking ‘Can you do a shop?’, which is fine too. He has a couple of people he shops for regularly in Forest Hall.

Charlie was born and raised in India and moved to the UK in 1968. Charlie really likes meeting different people, but has found some of the older generation are a quite surprised when he turns up at their door. “Once they get to know me it’s fine.” This experience hasn’t put him off.

To anyone thinking of volunteering, Charlie says: “I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s quite a nice experience. You meet all sorts of people. I like driving so it’s a plus. I absolutely love it.”