A budding lawyer from Ilkeston is encouraging people to drop into the British Red Cross charity shop to hear first-hand about how rewarding volunteering can be.
Abigail Flynn, 22, a final year law student at Nottingham Trent University, says volunteering fits flexibly around her studies and she enjoys meeting new people and the wide variety of skills she uses every day, which are setting her up for working life.
“It’s really varied and I thrive off that,” says Abigail, “My manager is really accommodating to individual needs so I’m volunteering two days a week to fit it in alongside my studies.”
Abigail is encouraging more young people and students to get involved in volunteering.
She said: “To any students or young people, particularly if you’re finding a job for the first time, you can learn so much here. I learned how to work tills, how to make a shop floor look good, before I had even got my first paid job because I was volunteering.
“It’s really friendly here and we all help each other. For example, we have regulars who know us by name and we know them by name, which didn’t used to happen at other places I’ve volunteered at.’
Paul Thompson, Red Cross director of retail and community fundraising, says folk can sign up at their local shop - even if they can only give a few hours a week.
He said: “We have one of the largest volunteer retail teams in the UK, and an amazing network of 330 shops in every corner of the country. Our volunteers freely give an amazing 1.2 million hours of their time to us – how’s that for the power of kindness!
“As well as contributing towards raising an incredible £30m a year to help people in crisis, our shops helps divert tonnes of textiles from landfill every year.
“But above and beyond the commercial value they deliver, our shops provide a vital service in so many other ways. They’re more than just shops – they’re friendly places, little communities within communities, where everyone gets a kind word and a warm welcome. They’re just priceless.”
The Ilkeston Red Cross shop is hosting a volunteer cake and tea day, where potential volunteers can drop in, speak to existing volunteers and be shown around the shop to get a taste of what it’s like to be part of the Red Cross team.
Cake and tea will be provided and the event will take place tomorrow (Tuesday), from 9am to 5pm.
For more information on volunteering in a British Red Cross shop, or to sign up for a taster session, please email RetailVolunteering@redcross.org.uk and quote “Priceless Volunteering”.