“They’re the most amazing group of people and worth their weight in gold. I can’t imagine functioning without them” – Maria started out as a volunteer because she was drawn to the wide and appealing range of roles available

The manager of a popular charity shop is on the lookout for extra helpers to join her “amazing” team of dedicated volunteers.

Maria Clark runs the busy East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) shop in Halesworth and got involved as a volunteer herself, listing items on eBay, in 2018.

She began by sparing her time twice a week and was drawn to the wide and appealing range of roles available.

Maria was speaking during EACH’s ‘Don’t pass by, give volunteering a try!’ campaign.

The recruitment drive is shining a light on the various opportunities available – from serving customers to sorting and pricing donations, dressing windows, steaming clothes, testing electrical equipment and listing items on eBay.

Posters and flyers are on display in every shop, while volunteer stories are being shared online and via social media.

“My advice would be to get involved and I guarantee you won’t regret it,” she said.

“The first step is to get in touch with your local shop manager and arrange to pop in for a trial shift.

“We tend to have people in for about an hour, so they can get an idea of the kind of thing they’ll be doing and also meet other volunteers.

“They’ll get a feel for the environment and a lot of them end up staying for two or three hours.

“There’s a wide range of things people can do – or a bit of everything!

“I have one volunteer who pops in for a couple of hours a week to sort and price jewellery.

“Another spends Wednesday mornings listing things on eBay.

“Another lady comes in and works her way through our mountain of books, while others do steaming or prefer sorting and pricing goods or being on the till.”

EACH has 48 shops across the region, in addition to its busy Retail Distribution Centre, in Thetford.

Other roles volunteers might like to consider include being a key holder, listing and sending books and being a driver’s mate, heading out to distribute goods, including collecting and dropping off furniture.

“My volunteers are the most amazing group of people, of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds,” added Maria.

“They give up their time without complaint, come in and work extremely hard.

“They’re also so flexible and accommodating. I had an issue recently where I was short of cover, because of sickness and holidays, but I knew that after putting something in our chat group, someone would step forward and help out.

“They’re worth their weight in gold and I can’t imagine functioning without them.

“There have been times when I’ve been in the shop on my own and it’s brutal.

“Even just having one volunteer at any one time is a huge blessing.”

Maria finds it hugely rewarding working for a charity and has a personal connection with EACH.

She said: “Having had a child that was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age, there was a sense of ‘there but for the grace of god go I’.

“I was lucky – my child survived – but there were an awful lot of parents we got to know during the time my son was ill that weren’t as fortunate.

“To do something so worthwhile, that goes some way to helping families like that, who are going through the same things me and my husband went through, means a lot to me.”

To find out more about volunteering for EACH, pop into your local shop, visit each.org.uk/volunteering, email volunteering@each.org.uk or call 01223 205183 (option four).

Find our notes to editors here.

Keep in touch:

For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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