Volunteer story

Student Volunteers

This National Volunteers Week, we are sharing stories from two student volunteers who have supported us.

Larisa

I’m Larisa, I’ve been volunteering here at the Chidham Shop for about a year and a half. Normally I help with the clothes, which is my favourite part, and also the kids and books section.

How have you found your volunteering experience?

I really enjoy it, Theresa, the shop manager and everyone is really nice and there are a lot of other young volunteers who I’ve become friends with. At first, I started volunteering with one of my close friends, but when she stopped, I decided to keep going as I really enjoyed it and it makes me feel altruistic.

What have you enjoyed most about your time Volunteering?

I really like talking to the customers and when people have donations. I like engaging with the local community and it’s really nice to see people I know pop in.

I also enjoy pricing the clothes as it’s all fashion and it’s fun figuring out what will sell and seeing brands or trends that you forgot about that are starting to become popular again.

How has it been balancing Student Life and Volunteering?

All the managers are so understanding, whenever there’s a day where I have an exam or need time to study, like a few weeks ago I had a Spanish Exam, they completely understand. Or whenever I’ve needed to leave early, Theresa and all the others completely understand and are very flexible and relaxed. General schoolwork has also been easy to keep up with as I can choose my hours to best help me.

Before volunteering, what did you know about St Wilfs and what have you learnt since?

Honestly, I didn’t know very much, but I wanted to help out in the community. Since starting though,  I’ve learnt so much and a lot of the volunteers here have been supported by the Hospice in the past and I’ve learnt a lot through talking to them. I’ve also learnt a lot about how businesses work, by being behind the till, how to date and price clothes and also getting involved with the odd Marketing Photo we pose for.

Would you recommend Volunteering?

Yes, 100%. I’ve recommended it to a lot of my friends who want to start volunteering and especially for DofE, I started with DofE but I will keep volunteering in my own time anyway.

I think it’s really nice as you meet a whole new set of people and it’s nice to know that you are helping people and making a difference with your time.

What skill have you learnt in your time?

I’ve learnt so much about people skills, interacting with customers professionally through asking for GiftAid or having to explain our donation policies. These will be great in the future as it’s grown my confidence.

Also, once I’m 16 I’ll be able to be more involved in the till which is interesting, and I’ve improved my work ethic thanks to having a commitment.

Anything else?

I really recommend it to anyone and it’s for a really good cause.

We also get to do fun stuff like the fashion show which was fun and raised a lot of money. We all dressed up and the audience was great and it was clearly a big hit!

Sophia

Sophia did a week-long work placement on the Ward here at St Wilfrid’s and we caught up with her to find out how she found it.

Hi my name is Sophia and I’ve volunteered here for 5 days as part of a work experience placement.

Why did you choose to Volunteer at St Wilfrid’s?

Well, I want to do something medical when I leave school and this seemed like a good place to start

How has your week been?

It’s been really good – amazing – I’ve learnt so much and it’s something that I’ll never forget.

I’ve helped in the Coffee Shop, had an induction and then on Tuesday we had a meeting.

From Wednesday to Today (Friday), I’ve been helping on the Ward.

What’s been your favourite task?

Probably working on the Ward and working with the patients and seeing what goes on. Some of them are very chatty, while others are quiet. But it’s really nice when the friendly ones chat to you.

What did you know about Hospice Care before volunteering?

The reason why I came here, is because when I was younger my great-nan was unwell and I helped look after her.

What has been interesting to learn?

The most interesting thing has been going round and talking to patients and hearing their stories.

I’ve also learnt that life is precious and you need to take any opportunity that you have.

Would you recommend volunteering to other students?

I’d say do it – you only get one opportunity at life and you might as well grab what you can.

It’s a really close community here and everyone gets along with each other, like a small village where everyone knows everyone.

 

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