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The charity making life better by water

Jordan, started with an open day

Jordan, volunteer

Jordan, 24, has been volunteering with us in Burnley for four years. He lives with Asperger Syndrome and tells us how volunteering has helped his communication, developed his confidence and given him new and exciting skills.

In Jordan's words

Finding out about the Trust

I was walking with my family in Corporation Park, near Blackburn when I first met Emma Fielding from the Trust. A few days later I went to an open day in Burnley to learn more about volunteering and signed up.

Activities vary but I do any heavy lifting, tidying up the towpath or cleaning up. If there's an open day, I give people information and I chitchat with them on the towpath.

Improving my confidence

Because of my Asperger's, I find it difficult to interact with people. Before volunteering, if someone asked me a yes or no question, I'd just give a one-word answer. Volunteering has helped with my confidence, and I can interact with people better. Now if someone asks me a question, I can go into more detail and say much more than I used to.

It's helped me to meet people, like other volunteers, and I've made some good friends.

Taking to the water

My favourite thing to do with the Trust is canoeing. I've canoed along the canal in Burnley, and in 2019 I took part in the Santa Splash event in Liverpool. It's good exercise and just gives me a break from everything. It helps with my worries and gives me the chance to relax.

A volunteer plants flowers next to the canal

Giving me new skills

I started working in a café around the same time as I began volunteering. When I started I didn't interact with the customers. My volunteering has helped with my work. Now I'll chat to people while I take their orders and prepare their food and drinks. Whenever I get time off from the café, I volunteer.

The best project so far has been a cycling workshop. I learnt how to repair a bike. I don't ride as I'm a bit clumsy, but I can now teach others or help someone repair their bike if they need it.

I've also done courses like the fire water save a life safety training. Volunteering helps to keep me busy.

Developing and learning

I knew very little about the canal before volunteering. Now I know local history and more about the canal network. It's helped me grow and expand my knowledge. If people ask me questions when they're walking on the towpath, I can answer.

The canal is important for the scenery and local wildlife. Volunteering has helped me to travel to a few new places and I've enjoyed visiting different parts of the canal.

Jordan, volunteer

Plans for the future

I'm going for my paddlesport instructor course through the Trust. Once I pass, I will do a couple of sessions in Burnley to teach others.

When I'm on my way to volunteer, I get excited about what I'll be doing that day. It makes me feel happy and I haven't looked back.

photo of a location on the canals
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