“I loved it as soon as I walked through the door. I remember thinking ‘this is me’ and feeling part of something straight away” – shop volunteer Paula is proud to have been helping since day one

A long-serving charity volunteer has spoken of the fun and social benefits she enjoys from serving customers in a popular Cromer shop.

Paula Roberts has been helping in the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) store since it opened in May 2019.

In the five years since, she has built up a wealth of knowledge of the charity’s retail operation, as well as serving countless happy customers.

It is a role she loves and would recommend to others, although she is quick to point out there are many jobs to suit different skills and interests.

Paula helps in the Tucker Street shop every Sunday afternoon, as well as being on hand to cover shifts in the week.

“I’ve done lots of volunteering and spent several years helping in Cromer’s Sue Ryder shop,” said the 37-year-old.

“When it closed, I knew I wanted to get involved with another charity as soon as possible.

“EACH’s new shop caught my eye straightaway.

“I loved it as soon as I walked through the door. I remember thinking ‘this is me’ and feeling part of something straight away.

“I’ve continued to love it ever since and enjoy seeing and meeting new people.

“The social aspect really appeals and that’s why I love being on the till.”

Paula, who lives a stone’s throw from the shop, is proud to have been involved since day one.

“I can’t believe where those five years have gone,” she said.

“It’s amazing how quickly time goes but I don’t have any regrets and can’t imagine ever leaving.

“I love it too much and am determined to keep volunteering as long as I can.

“Our shop is beautiful, clean and fresh and I love the way everything is colour co-ordinated.

“I like trying to help people and answer their questions, if they’re looking for a particular item.

“Having been here for five years, I’ve built up a lot of knowledge of our stock and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll know who to ask. I find that very satisfying.

“I enjoy chatting with our regular customers and also recognise people who come back every year on holiday. I always say ‘morning’ or ‘afternoon’ with a smile on my face and ‘thank you’ when they leave.

“Sometimes it’s busy, which I love, but I also like having an opportunity to tidy up during a quieter spell.

“I enjoy being busy and am constantly occupied. I’m proud of our shop and like making sure it looks as smart as possible.”

Paula was speaking during EACH’s ‘Don’t pass by, give volunteering a try!’ retail volunteer campaign – a drive to recruit more help across its 48 shops and busy Retail Distribution Centre, in Thetford.

One of the aims is to highlight the range of roles available, from serving customers to sorting and pricing donations, dressing windows, steaming clothes, testing electrical equipment and listing items on eBay.

Other roles 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.

“I’d definitely recommend it and it’s important to stress that different people can do different things,” said Paula.

“We all have areas we enjoy and it’s a real team effort.

“All the volunteers get on well and help each other. I feel part of something special.

“The manager and all the staff make us feel appreciated and it’s great being in a position to make a difference.”

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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