Centre for Alternative Technology

Britain's major centre for environmental inspiration and courses.


Photo gallery


Volunteers are extremely important to our work here at The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), our achievements over the last 30 years simply wouldn't have happened without the hard work, inspiration and dedication of the initial idealists who founded the centre in 1975.

Here is a photo gallery that will take you on a journey, showing you how much CAT has relied on the sweated brows and willing hands of all our volunteers over the years.

Hard Work
In the early days it was all about hard work. Turning a derelict slate quarry into an eco-vision full of examples of green technologies was never going to be easy.

This is a generator for a water turbine being pushed along the old quarry tracks.

New Technologies
After the site had been separated into sections, the vision took its next step. Here we see dedicated volunteers fitting early solar panels to power the site.
Grub's Up!
Of course, there was time to eat and relax after a hard days work. Perhaps the long hair and big beards were less of a fashion statement and more that there was just never any time to cut it off.
Hands On
Volunteering within departments such as Engineering, Site maintainance and Biology offer participants the chance to work using sustainable technologies and methods, gaining experience in their particular fields.

Here is an engineering Long Term volunteer (LTV) being instructed about wind turbines and their safe management.

In the Garden
We are what we eat here at CAT, here is a volunteer collecting produce for use in our restaurant and for staff lunches. We really do practise what we preach at CAT, 365 days a year.

Volunteering within our Gardening Department is an excellent opportunity to learn about biodiversity, organic gardening methods and landscaping

Desk Based
Volunteering within departments such as Information, Media and Publications give those involved in-depth experience of working in a fast paced customer focused environment within this Europe leading eco-centre.
Short Term Volunteers
Short Term Volunteers (STVs) spend one week helping CAT in a variety of ways, from gardening to helping build a fence. Check back to see if we are offering this.
Community Dinner
The site community gets together twice every week to eat and socialise, often with interesting results! Everything from fruit pizza to the delights of cous cous and roasted veg.
Community life
Volunteers who live at CAT join the site community. This experience includes taking on a community role, joining in work-days and relaxing in the community gardens.
Chopping Wood
In the winter, it's hard to imagine that chopping wood and getting a fire going can take up such a large part of your life or even formulate your social agenda, but it does!
Socialising together is an integral part of volunteering at CAT, there is lots to do in and around Machynlleth. There is a vibrant community in the town who promote a really friendly atmosphere for all visitors. For the more adventurous there are hills to climb and trails to follow, on foot and on your bike.
Birdman of Aberdyfi





And there is even more to volunteering at CAT than walking the valleys and completing excellent eco-projects. 'Birdman of Aberdyfi' is a yearly event which involves the summer Media volunteer dressing up as a bird and attempting to fly, whilst everyone stands and laughs... as 100% end up in the sea.
There are pantomimes, plays and lots more to take part in around Machynlleth. Here is a photo of 'Cabaret'
Volunteers have always been so important to the Centre for Alternative Technology. In fact when CAT first started everyone was a volunteer. Whether for a few days, or for six months, literally thousands of volunteers have passed through CAT, changing our lives, and changing theirs.
Volunteering is what brought me here to CAT and it has changed my life! In fact 25 years after I first volunteered, I am still here and love my work very much!

My original career plan was to become a physicist until a good friend persuaded me to join him as a volunteer for a couple of weeks at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Mid Wales. I returned home inspired and took a deep breath, withdrew from the University applications system and re-applied to become an engineer!

After graduating from Liverpool, I took another volunteer position - this time a six month stint with CAT's engineering company Dulas Engineering. I quickly made myself useful and at the end of my six months I was offered a paid contract.

In 1994 I took over as CAT's Press and Media Officer until 1998 when I was honoured to become CAT's Development Officer - and I am not the only one to stay on, many of our current staff began their time here as volunteers.

During the past 30 years, CAT has welcomed over 4000 volunteers who have played a huge part in making the centre what it is today! I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of all the staff and trustees for all your hard work and continued support.

Paul Allen