“Hello, I’m Richard Mahaffey, 43 and unemployed. I have been volunteering at Making Theatre Gaining Skills with Hilary, Sarah and Tony since December following a short three-week period last March where the three of us and others put on a play, “Spring time in Hotham Park” for local primary schools.”

“It was great fun drawing, painting, doing carpentry, searching for music/songs and sound effects. We also brushed up our acting and vocal skills by using various software to record the character’s voices. The three weeks just flew by. I then carried on with the rest of my life until last November, when I got invited to an open day from my “old friends” from Making Theatre Gaining Skills where I was asked if I would like to become their Part-time Volunteer Fundraising Assistant. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last four months, once or twice a week for just three hours from 10 or 11 a.m. (depending on when Hilary or Sarah turn up) until 1pm. First of all, the coffees get made. Then the computer gets turned on and the e-mails are read, checked, worked on or deleted. When I started the research I did was finding out about the organisation and the deprivation in West Sussex to see why a CIC like ours was needed. I also spent one week signing up for blogs for various newspapers and wrote a brilliant piece (if I do say myself) about current satire for the Guardian website. I got a lot of likes and feedback but I’ve since procrastinated this but would like to come back to this in the near future.” 

“Recently, I have been researching various companies’ websites to see those who offer grants to CICs and whether Making Theatre Gaining Skills fall within their remit; basically “Give us your money so we can buy….”  I’ve also researched various products for the office such as photo frames for the pictures of our staff. I’ve also been researching other equipment such as comfy chairs for Sarah’s bad posture, special computers and software for those with dyslexia who may sign up for our services.”

Tony Lock, 58. I’ve been working for Making Theatre Gaining Skills for 1 year as a peer mentor.  I started off doing a course followed by volunteering as a technician and handy man. I’ve been on tour and it’s been a laugh. I did lighting. When I was in East Sussex I started to show young people the safest way to use power tools. In my spare time I DJ for Radio respect as a volunteer. I present my own show on Tuesday and Friday nights where I play music and take phone calls and give help and advice where I can. It’s a worldwide internet radio station. It’s amazing to think that people are listening in the USA. I had a text from a guy in Miami, saying well done it was a good show and did we have any Albert King. So I played him “Stormy Monday”. Back to Making Theatre Gaining Skills, I enjoy being there and get plenty of help from Hilary and the team. I have just recently been enrolled in a local college doing art, which I am looking forward to as art is something I have discovered in my later years.”