Special feature: Dave - the living effigy of Threeways

Threeways, Ovenden. Dave Walsh.
Threeways, Ovenden. Dave Walsh.

Intrigued by what was going on his community, Dave called into the Nursery Lane centre to find out more.

Sensing he could be a part of the team and wanting to take ownership of the new asset which was established for the people of Ovenden, Dave began as a volunteer and got stuck-in with improving site maintanence.

Four months later, Dave who had been out of work for the previous three years, secured a paid staff position as site manager of Threeways.

“I’d been trying to get back to work the whole time I was out of work. The benefits of working far outweigh being sat at home. It’s difficult for people round here as there really isn’t much work out there.

“But people can come here and do our Volunteer Plus programme which gives practical skills to get people ready to return to work. The course is mainly practical as that’s what most of our course attendees prefer.”

Mr Walsh said he gets immense satisfaction from his job - much more so than companies he has worked in excess of 20 years, in the past.

“Seeing people get back into work or going self-employed is brilliant - over the last six months we’ve had about one person a month returning to work.

“The Grove area of Ovenden has a reputation for people living on the dole as it’s easier to get free money then go out and graft. But, when local people come here they realise it’s more interesting and fulfilling to actually get up and do something and be a part of something. It’s about getting people who are stuck in a rut, out of bed and inspired to do something.

“The community are really getting involved as we grow - when I first joined we’d get a couple of volunteers here each week, now we have about 20 volunteers throughout the week. The more people get to know about us, the bigger we will get. I just want the centre to get the support it deserves from the local authority as it can be tough relying solely on grants.

“If this centre had been here ten-years-ago, Ovenden would be a much brighter and better place, today.”