We’ve been marking Volunteers’ Week 2023 by celebrating our ‘Friends of’ Mustard Tree across the Ancoats, Eccles and Little Hulton hubs. If you have a spare five minutes, please give a listen to the above segment and check out the below testimonials – including Fikky’s story.
Textiles with Fikky
Fikayomi Agbola, 29, is from Nigeria and volunteers at Mustard Tree’s textiles drop-in.
“I support adults by facilitating sewing/textile classes in Mustard Tree’s textile class – hole and tear repairs, zipper repairs and replacements, everyday repairs, patchwork, up-cycling fabrics to make new designs, repurposing vintage clothes etc. I have been volunteering in various capacities and organisations since 2012 but particularly at Mustard Tree since this month of May.
I have seen first-hand the struggles that many people face and it has motivated me to want to give back to my community. I support volunteering initiatives in Nigeria and now that I live in the UK, I believe that it is important to continue this work and help those in need here as well. Volunteering is a great way to use my skills and time to make real difference in people’s lives. It brings me a sense of fulfilment and purpose.
I got involved in volunteering because I strongly believe that as human beings, we need each other’s help and support, and I have been fortunate enough to receive that kindness in my own life.
Learning a craft is not only practical but also beneficial for mental health.
Volunteering with Mustard Tree, particularly in the textiles classes is a way for me to combine my passion for sustainable fashion with my desire to make a positive impact in the world. Additionally, being raised with a sense of compassion and a desire to help those around me has always driven me to be involved in volunteering and giving back to my community.
Volunteering allows me to make a positive impact in people’s lives and seeing the joy it brings them is truly rewarding. I love lending a helping hand, listening to people share their stories, and providing a sense of comfort and support. I also enjoy teaching them new skills such as sewing, repairing, repurposing or altering clothes, as I believe that learning a craft is not only practical but also beneficial for mental health. Being able to provide an escape from the stresses of daily life and seeing the pride on their faces when they complete a project is truly fulfilling.
Above: Freedom Trainee Rasheedat with a dress Fikky helped her make.
Volunteering has had a significant impact on my life. Not only have I gained new skills and experiences, but I have also become more emotionally intelligent and self-aware. I have learned to be patient and compassionate towards others, and to take care of my own well-being.
It’s okay to be vulnerable, people are willing to genuinely help.
Through volunteering, I have built meaningful connections with others and have developed a greater sense of gratitude for the blessings in my life and ask for help when I need it. It’s okay to be vulnerable, people are willing to genuinely help. Overall, volunteering has been a transformative experience that has helped me become a better version of myself.
“Volunteering with Mustard Tree, particularly in the textiles classes is a way for me to combine my passion for sustainable fashion with my desire to make a positive impact in the world.”
Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and satisfaction in knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of others. It also boosts my mood and mental health by giving me a sense of accomplishment and happiness in helping others. The drive to keep volunteering comes from this feeling! Such joy!
Volunteering can also be a great way to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, and can even lead to personal and professional growth. So if you’re thinking about volunteering, I would encourage you to give it a try and see how rewarding it can be!
Two of my favourite volunteering memories are when I witnessed the impact of the classes on participants. One person was so inspired that they started to consider a career in fashion. It was amazing to see how something as simple as learning to sew and repair clothes could have such a significant impact on someone’s career aspirations.
“One person was so inspired that they started to consider a career in fashion.”
Another memory was when a participant learned how to repurpose her clothes and started to wear them more often, which in turn inspired her to help people around her do the same. It was heart-warming to see how the skills learned in the classes could empower people to make positive changes in their lives and communities.
What song best sums up your volunteering experience?
“We Are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, USA for Africa.
Join our Movement
Our High Fivers monthly giving campaign is gaining momentum, but this is still just the beginning. With over 10,000 people a month now coming through our doors, we need your support more than ever.
To those who have already joined our campaign or give to us monthly – THANK YOU! Please help us get the word out by sharing this newsletter with family, friends, colleagues and community members.
Your kind donations are vital for us to continue our work and are much appreciated by us all.