When I finished working, a friend who worked at Corpus Christi asked if I’d like to volunteer a day a week – now I do nine days a fortnight! I’d been a cleaning manager at hospitals, and when I arrived here, the personal care workers were responsible for cleaning. Now, I take care of it, with a team of volunteers – whenever we get someone new on board, everyone says the same thing: ‘Send them to Jim!’
I love a bit of fun – when I first sailed out from Scotland to Australia, they wanted to keep me on the ship for the trip back, just to keep everyone entertained! And that’s the attitude I have here, just bringing a bit of fun to the blokes. And they give me plenty of laughs, too.
When I first started volunteer at CCC, I’d get a lift from a friend and we’d drive past the fountain at St Albans, where all the drunks used to be with their brown paper bags. And I’d think, ‘look at those bums!’ Now, getting to know the blokes here, I’ve got a real soft spot for all of them – and I realise that there’s always a reason people end up down and out. I’ll stop and have a chat at St Albans now.
I like to take a drink, and I could have easily ended up at CCC as one of the blokes. Especially after my son died, I was drinking a bottle a day – it’s easy to see how life can spiral out of control. So I’ve been lucky. I’m glad I can share it around.”