Volunteers
People make it happen

We have saved 842 tonnes of paint to date!
We collect and reuse over 170 tonnes of paint per year.
We work with over 50 volunteers per year

People make it happen

Volunteering underpins everything we do here. Seagulls was developed and established on a voluntary basis by Cat and Kate. Having met as volunteers on a local project they grew seagulls out of a passion for social justice. We have a strong volunteer history and 100% of our staff team were volunteers for the enterprise before gaining employment. This ensures a unique approach to Seagulls volunteer project and means that it remains a people focused enterprise.

People volunteer at Seagulls for many different reasons and from many varied backgrounds. We provide a safe, kind and supportive environment for people to build confidence and learn new skills. Our volunteer programme ‘We grow People’ is predominantly funded by The Henry Smith Foundation and other small grants, for example WYPCC proceeds of crime money.

Meet our staff and Volunteers

I was first introduced to Seagulls by a mutual friend. I then volunteered here for a year and have been working here since 2009. The working environment is comfortable with everybody maintaining friendly relationships. I find it very satisfying to work with volunteers from all walks of life especially those with learning disabilities. With Seagulls having recycled over 800 tonnes of paint, I also feel proud to have played a part in caring for the environment.

I was at Swarthmore College and my teacher Martin brought me down to Seagulls for Work experience. I really like the people and I liked getting a hot meal cooked for me at dinnertime. I like going out in the van. I have been learning cooking, washing up, crushing, cans, getting rid of the waste paint and I get help to look after myself better. I’d never had a holiday until we went to the Barn, we go every year and I really look forward to it…I have lots of showers there.

I’ve been at Seagulls since February 2011, I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about Seagulls before applying for the job, I didn’t even know there was such thing as recycling paint, but since I joined I have met some of the kindest people you could ever wish to meet and made many fantastic friends. I suppose what I love about Seagulls is the working atmosphere is absolutely brilliant, everyone has a great sense of humour, we can have a laugh and a joke together whilst doing the job. But for me personally, what I love about Seagulls the most is, well let me ask you this, what other job allows one to listen to their Music full blast (bear in mind, mine is of the Heavy Metal variety) and sing their heart out whilst doing their job? Exactly!

Seagulls is a fantastic place to work that offers people of all ethics and backgrounds the chance to work in a fantastic atmosphere with fantastic, kind people. I’m convinced if it weren’t for Seagulls I’d still be on the dole claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, because Seagulls gave me a chance when no-one else would. That’s the real reason WHY I LOVE SEAGULLS!

“I have been at Seagulls for seven years now, first as a volunteer and later an employee; life was difficult for me when I first arrived, I had lost my way and got myself into a bit of trouble. Seagulls has helped me so much over the years with support, life skills and education in the workplace. I am now able to take all that I have learnt and use it to further develop my role as a mentor, and train and support volunteers. A day at Seagulls is never boring!  I have met many colourful and interesting characters along the way, and I learn something new every day. Seagulls ‘pink’ has changed my perspective on both environment and life

The futures bright, the futures ‘pink’!

I started volunteering, at Seagulls, about four and a half years ago, and I progressed into a full-time job round about when Channel4’s Secret Millionaire was filmed. It was my first job since leaving High School, Seagulls took a chance on me and I am now the paint store supervisor and provide support and training for new staff and volunteers, I have also taken on some of the admin responsibilities. I have learnt a lot of workplace and social skills from my time working here and I feel that this is somewhere where I have opportunities to further develop both myself and my work role.

Seagulls’ has developed a very niche market, reusing and selling waste paint, and if Seagulls’ were to go “POOOF!!”, and disappear, the community would suffer indefinitely. With people struggling to buy food, and pay bills, how else could they afford to make their homes look better? It’s a tough world out there and Seagulls’ makes it a little easier on the eyes and the pocket.

I have been at Seagulls for about 3-4years. I first came across Seagulls, after my key-worker mentioned them, so I came and bought some paint. Seagulls looked like an awesome and exciting place to be. I told my key-worker that I wanted to work there and he arranged it for me. But now I know anyone can turn up and volunteer and that’s how I get to meet so many different people.

I think it’s great that Seagulls helps the environment by collecting paint from the waste sites around Leeds and stopping it from ending up in landfill sites. And then they help the area by selling the community’s reclaimed paint at affordable prices. But Seagulls also helped me by offering me a job and giving me advice when I was looking for a place of my own. Seagulls is awesome, I mean, where else can you spend less than a tenner and get paint that actually stays on your walls?

I have been working at Seagulls since May 2010 and before that I was a volunteer.  At work staff and volunteers old and new, have had lots of laughter –and a few pranks too over the years. It’s a great work atmosphere and I receive so much support from my colleagues for which I am very grateful.

Before I began volunteering at Seagulls 9 years ago I had spent 6 years on my sofa at home, severely ill, disabled and depressed. all of which  caused me to become hospitalised . Life was tough and I was finding it difficult to find the desire to carry on as I could not live independently.  After a series of operations and with the help of a motorbility car I began volunteering at the odd community group doing arts and crafts. But, every time I had another operation or a period of illness it was difficult to pick up the pieces where I left off and start again. I really wanted to give something back to the world and, while helping a friend buy paint, discovered Seagulls where I saw Kate lugging huge tubs of paint around.  My last operation meant that  I had spent 13 months with little movement and my muscles had wasted …it was like a light bulb moment, I needed exercise and Seagulls needed help lifting paint pots!

The whole ethos of Seagulls and reuse fits in with my ethos on life; I cannot bear waste and love the creative way that Seagulls reuse paint. The creative arts section is inclusive of all ages and abilities and has become a lifeline for many of its users. I have never met such a diverse group of people that all seem to fit perfectly into their roles as part of the cog that keep us going as Seagulls

I was first introduced to Seagulls through an employment scheme made for unemployed young people who are having trouble finding work. For two weeks of this course I worked at Seagulls to gain experience in the working world. This was a huge step for me as I struggled with traveling and had a huge problem talking to people because of my anxiety. I remember my first day, I was quiet and said only a few words to people. By the end of the week I was chatting to everyone and actually looked forward to going outside from my bedroom. After these two weeks I decided to volunteer from here on because I love the job and everyone here so much!

If it wasn’t for Seagulls I’d still be cooped up in my room with no social life at all, because of Seagulls I can travel, because of Seagulls I can talk to people, because of Seagulls I can go outside without having a panic attack. I’ve met some amazing people here who I know they’ll be friends for life! I feel now I can do anything if I just put my mind to it. Seagulls is honestly the most amazing place and has helped me so much!

My son Chris came to Seagulls through the Passport to Skills study programme at Swarthmore education centre. Volunteering at Seagulls has given Chris something to look forward to, he loves going to help and engaging in work has helped to give him a bit of self worth. Long may Seagulls continue!!

How to volunteer

We take referrals from support agencies and self referrals. Seagulls is a messy place to work so we encourage people to have a trial period before committing to a placement. It is very simple to become a volunteer, just give us a call (0113 246 7510) or send us a message. When we have volunteering places available you will be invited to visit us, we’ll take a few details and give you some information about Seagulls and how we work. You’ll be introduced to the staff and volunteer team and arrange a suitable start day.

We reimburse travel expenses and provide lunch. Our volunteering days are Monday- Friday 10-3.