Bright spark volunteer brings his PAT Testing skills to Sheffield charity

From a Scalextric racing car track to a baby alarm or a surround sound system, a handy Sheffield volunteer is able to fix pretty much anything in aid of a good cause.

By Sarah Marshall
Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:12 pm

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

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

Robert admits that before he started volunteering he had never even changed a plug.

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St Luke's volunteer Robert Brown

Former support worker Robert, of Woodhouse, came to St Luke’s, which cares for adults with terminal illnesses, 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 said.

“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.

The first task Robert always completes is a function test, 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 said.

“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.