A hard-working charity shop volunteer says giving her time to help others has been a perfect way to combat loneliness. Linda Meager has been lending a hand in East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (EACH) Bowthorpe store since it opened in February 2018.
She says it is a charity “close to her heart” and the opportunity to meet and mix with others has proved a much-needed lifeline.
“I’ve been volunteering here since the shop first opened and started because I was feeling very lonely,” said Linda, 74.
“I needed to mix with more people and in that respect it’s definitely lived up to expectations. I like meeting different people and feel it keeps my mind active.
“The staff and my fellow volunteers are great, very nice and friendly. I love working on the till, serving customers and having a catch up, and volunteering is definitely something I’d recommend to others. It’s helped me make lots of new friends.”
Linda, who also enjoys putting new stock on display, feels a close connection to EACH, which has shops across Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia.
“I like the feeling of doing something worthwhile and I had a nephew who sadly died when he was just eight,” she said.
“It makes this fantastic charity close to my heart.”
Linda, who was a personal assistant during her working life and lives in Bowthorpe, has formed a close bond with Shop Manager Michelle Hinton.
“She’s ace and been a great support to me personally,” said the avid reader.
“Michelle looked after me when I was seriously ill and had to go into hospital. She arranged for someone to care for my cats and sort out a hospital bag.
“Now I’m receiving treatment and she’s supporting me again, which I appreciate so much.”
Michelle is always on the lookout for more volunteers. To find out more or register an interest, either pop into the shop, call 01603 732874 or email Michelle.Hinton@each.org.uk
“Extra help is always needed and volunteers have an absolutely crucial role to play,” she said.
“They make such a difference and, quite simply, we wouldn’t be able to run our shop – and therefore help raise vital funds – without them.
“I’d be very pleased to hear from anyone interested in joining our team and, while we’d obviously love people to offer a regular slot, just a morning or afternoon makes the world of difference.
“There are various roles available, from serving customers to sorting and organising donations and listing eBay items. The hours are completely flexible, to fit in with busy lives, and a friendly welcome is assured.
“We’d also love to hear from anyone interested in helping out, even if it’s just a short-term arrangement like students being home on their university holiday.”
EACH relies on voluntary donations for the majority of its income and, this year alone, needs to raise £7.8 million from its Retail operation, which includes stores across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.