Blog: The unexpected benefits of lockdown

Our volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and done the best job they can during lockdown

3D printed visors ready to dispatch

So we’ve spent the lockdown period doing stuff we never imagined would be needed: we’ve loaned equipment (15 laptops, 3 monitors and a couple of Nexus tablets so far) to families that desperately need it; we’ve encouraged some of our existing young learners to keep engaged with digital skills; and we’ve unfurloughed a couple of our staff and recruited some volunteers to fill a supply gap in faceshields for key workers.

Our volunteers are probably the thing that has surprised us most.  We asked them to come and help produce faceshields, even though none of them had ever even seen a 3D printer.  They rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.  Now they comfortably run the machinery with only the occasional question and then turn their attention to quality assurance, packing and dispatch in a clean environment.

This week we suggested they learn how to use 3D design software – mostly for the fun of it.  All of them have leapt at the chance despite more than one of them saying “this isn’t in my area of expertise” – what’s more, they’ve really enjoyed it.  We’ll be printing their designs very soon.

But the thing that’s stood out the most is how excited all our staff and volunteers are about learning new things.  Everyone working on all aspects of the projects are volunteering some of their time and all of them have told us about how learning new things has enriched their lives and how happy they are to have been able to volunteer.

If TechResort is about anything, it’s about giving all sorts of people the right environment to try new things, practice to improve, and develop new interests and skills.  This means that, whilst our COVID-19 projects are not what we normally do, they’re totally about what we’ve always been about.

Thank you to everyone who has been, and continue to be involved with our projects – we literally wouldn’t be able to do it without you.

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