Habitat ReStore is the low cost DIY store that builds hope and homes. We help local families improve their homes for less and provide volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, including Adam Harkin.

Adam (21) started volunteering with Habitat ReStore in Ballymena to improve his social skills and gain some work experience.

Adam has Aspergers Syndrome (a form of Autism) and so has difficulties socialising with others.

His parents learned about Ballymena ReStore opening and felt that volunteering for 4 hours on a Saturday would help Adam to step out of his comfort zone and learn new skills. When he first started volunteering, we asked Adam about his ReStore experience:

What’s your favourite task in ReStore?

I like brushing the floor most because I can see the difference it makes in the store- it can get super dusty!

What have you learned during your time in ReStore?

I’ve learned a lot about the work Habitat does in Northern Ireland- I thought they just worked in Africa. I now also know more about how to lift things properly and I can clean furniture now too.

What motivates you to keep coming back?

There are lots of people in the world who need homes and Habitat for Humanity help them, so I like to know that I’m helping them too.

What has surprised you about working in ReStore?

I was surprised by all the stuff people throw away. It isn’t broken but people just get rid of it anyway.

What has challenged you at ReStore?

I find it difficult to talk to customers. It isn’t something I’m good at so I’m trying to work on that every week.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met in ReStore and why? 

Joe (the donation collections driver) is so good at fixing stuff. I didn’t even recognise my old desk after he’d finished with it.

What’s the thing that inspires you most about Habitat’s work?

Everything Habitat does with children around the world. They don’t have somewhere safe like we do, so it’s important to try and help them.

Five years later, and Adam has volunteered for more than 2,000 hours, and now works at ReStore as part of the JobStart Scheme.

Learn more about ReStore and how YOU can volunteer here.