How did you find out about volunteering?
I found out about volunteering through TSL Volunteering. I spoke to Becky over the phone and we discussed options. I have a background in retail so I was looking for a charity shop opportunity which would utilise my skills and was in walking distance of my home. As I don’t have access to email or a computer, Becky helped me to complete the electronic application form over the telephone.
What do you like about your Volunteer role?
My volunteer role at the Shelter shop in Batley gives me a sense of purpose. I can’t work now because of my eyes and I am going to have another operation at the end of the month, but volunteering enables me to make a small difference. It is also a personal achievement for me and can make me feel better about myself.
The role is very diverse, I could be working back of house sorting stock, prioritising items, that I then size, steam clean and put on the racks. I also work front of house, assisting customers asking if they need any help and utilising my customer service experience. I really enjoy window dressing – I put together a Halloween display and as quickly as I was putting things out in window they were being sold!
The Shop Manager is very hands on and has been really supportive regarding my visual impairment. I have also become friends with two of the other Volunteers.
I am really looking forward to the shop reopening after lockdown. In the mean time I have been keeping busy with two charity craft projects – knitting squares for children’s blankets in Africa and crocheting comfort toys for premature babies in Hospital.
How has volunteering made a difference to you?
Volunteering has been a very positive thing for me. As it is only a little shop, sometimes it can be hard to find what you are looking for, so with permission of the Manager I have made different sections in the shop for books, shoes and bags, a children’s section etc. It took about a week to sort things out into designated areas. I am quite proud of the difference I have made and was pleased that the Manager allowed me to use my skills in this area.
Volunteering enables me to have structure to my week, I have always worked since I was 16 years and as a single parent, I think it is important that my children see that I have a sense of priority and although I am not in paid work I can volunteer to better myself.
To find out more about Shelter and how you can be involved visit: https://england.shelter.org.uk/support_us/shops/batley.
You can view current Volunteer roles on our website: https://volunteeringkirklees.org.uk/opportunities