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Bright spark Robert perfects his PAT Testing skills

FROM a Scalextric racing car track to a baby alarm or a surround sound system…we have the man who makes sure they’re all safe and ready for sale.


Volunteer Robert Brown is based at our City Road shop at Manor Top, where he specialises in PAT Testing the many electrical items that are donated to the shop.


PAT Testing - that’s short for Portable Appliance Testing - is the check carried out to ensure electrical appliances meet current safety standards.


But Robert will admit that before he started volunteering he had never even changed a plug!


Former support worker Robert, who lives in Woodhouse, came to us more than three years ago when he decided he needed a fresh challenge.


“I do work part time as a carer but I wanted to do something with the rest of my time so I decided to volunteer,” he says.


“I was offered training and there is quite a lot to learn but I have enjoyed it all and St Luke’s has been wonderful.”


Robert usually completes up to four volunteer sessions per week at the shop, fitting the hours around his carer duties.


“Because I’m not on the shop floor I can really come in any day and there is always plenty for me to do,” he says.


First of all, he has to carry out a function test - quite simply assessing whether a donated item is actually working.


“Lamps are the most common item we receive and and they arrive in all shapes and sizes,” he says.


“Then there’s a lot of audio equipment, CD players, DVD players and occasionally televisions, though if they don’t come with the remote control you can spend hours trying to find the right code to get them working.


“It’s all about making sure its fit for purpose and then I can do the actual PAT Test and the item is then ready for sale.


“You never know what you’re coming in to, it’s something new every day - but that’s what makes it so interesting.


“Being a volunteer enables me to contribute to the services that St Luke’s provides and it’s good to be part of the team.”


St Luke’s currently has a whole range of retail volunteer roles available at its 13 stores across the city and also at its Donation Centre and as part its eBay sales team.


To find out more about becoming a St Luke’s retail volunteer email: Volunteer or call 0114 2357548.


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