Q&A with Amo

20th September 2016


Amo was interviewed by Ali Rawlings to become the first of our team featured here in a Q&A

AR – How did you get involved with the Restoration Station?
I was doing my regular courses here (at the Hanbury), woodwork, art, upholstery. After which I was called upon to volunteer my services at the Restoration Station which I was happy to do because it fits in with what I wish to do which is to which is to give back a little.  It’s something I enjoy doing.

AR – What is your role at the RS?
Merchandising mostly, making sure the shop is clean and tidy, I greet customers and tell them about the concept which is – we are a charity working with donated furniture and we take commissions, so we renovate too. I make sure everything is displayed with the correct price and an appropriate stamp. I have been given a budget to buy stuff. People phone up and donate mid-century retro style furniture from the 30s to 70s.  Furniture can be heirlooms and quality stuff.

AR – What do you gain from working here?

I get a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and I get structure from it. 

It gives me something to do.  Also I am improving my confidence and my skill sets and my social interaction because I am not good around other people. I find it stressful because people are very complicated, unlike animals and so I have a lot of issues around dealing with people.  That’s why my social life is nil. I mean I stay at home and rant at the radio and that’s it, but I don’t socially interact outside.

AR – That’s really funny because I always thought of you as a really sociable person because you come to SCT Choices, and you seem to be really outgoing and sociable.
In this environment I can be sociable because this is an environment in which I feel I can, but outside I can’t because people are very hard edged and I can’t deal with it.  So, in a setting like this which is more of a benign environment for me I can socially interact but I have to be very assertive outside.

AR – So is this a kind of a sanctuary for you?
Yes. It’s the only place I come to in terms of my social life, this is my social life here.

AR – So what have you learned since being at the Restoration Station?
I have learnt new techniques in terms of restoring furniture, picking up tips from Laurence who is a master carpenter, and I am observing the way Bernard interacts with the customers so that I can learn from that and hopefully be a valuable team member, so that we can keep progressing the concept, make it better and take it to the next level.

AR – I’ve noticed you are a person with big ideas. What ideas do you have for the next level?
I think we need to go round to various other businesses because I have been out and about and I have been looking at other places. The problem here is that everything is donated so we don’t really have that much choice, we have to pick and choose what is going to fit in and what is going to be appropriate.  If it is appropriate we can put it in but whereas other places they can go to the continent and they can be more specific about what they have.  But because ours is donation based we make the best of what we have.

AR – What message do you have for someone maybe just out of treatment and coming here for the first time, what would you say to them?
Somebody that’s just come out of treatment, when they come here, I just try to make them feel at ease. So, if there is a new face I always try to interact with them, help to make them feel comfortable so that they are not feeling isolated.  I will always pay attention to a newcomer and try  to make them feel at ease.

AR – You say that the Restoration Station has helped you build your confidence and get you ready for the outside world.
It’s given me a different take. I’m watching other people do things in their particular way and it is interesting, it’s a learning process.

AR – Have you ever done anything like this before?
Not selling furniture but I have been involved in business before, in the clothing industry and running shops.  It is interesting to see how the organisation works and how they operate.  We are moving forward.  I’m just very grateful for the opportunity to be valued and being part of a team and I appreciate that.

AR – How does the future look for Amo?
Because my confidence has been increased, maybe I can go back out into the big bad world and participate.  For me it is about self-development and you know hopefully getting to the stage where I can make my big contribution to the world, and make the world a better place.

Amo’s portrait is by Roj Whitelock who is photographing a number of people being helped in their recovery by SCT.