Volunteer story

Volunteering in our Selsey shop – Michiko and Lyn

We visited our Selsey charity shop and met with two of our international volunteers, Michiko and Lyn, and talked to them about how they have found volunteering at St Wilfrid’s Selsey Shop.

Lyn Tarver

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to volunteer for St Wilfrid’s Hospice

My name is Lyn Tarver, retired from Texas to Selsey in February of 2022. I’ve been volunteering for at least nine months. I had no prior experience in volunteering, as I had a business in America and when I retired we moved closer to my wife’s mother.

How do you find volunteering?

It’s good! Lovely people and I admire all the workers here.

Why St Wilf’s?

Because it was a hospice. I’ve always been supportive of hospice care both here and in America and I happened to see the sign asking for volunteers, and as I was retired I needed something to do!

What does your day-to-day look like as a volunteer?

Normally, I just help sort through donations and work the till as I have 20 years of retail experience.

Would you recommend volunteering, and do you plan to continue volunteering in our shops?

Absolutely! I will stay in retail as that is where I have my previous experience at. I have 20 years of experience in sales and management at Brook Mays, which is the largest full-line musical instrument dealer in the USA. 16 years with them and then owned my own business for 13 years.

I find the managers here are very knowledgeable and are always helpful, and I’m always happy to fill in if someone can’t make a shift.

Michiko Windless

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to volunteer for St Wilfrid’s Hospice

I am Michiko Windless, people call me Mitchy. I have lived in Selsey three years and a few months. I moved here from Bournemouth in 2019. I have been volunteering for just over a year, but I had a three-month break because I had to sort out my Visa.

How do you find volunteering?

It’s great. In the UK, it seems volunteering is a very natural thing to do. Everyone seems to have some experience in volunteering in some capacity, but it’s not as common in Japan. I knew about volunteering and I had an experience volunteering programme in England, of which you work as a volunteer and they supply accommodation and food allowance for a year. They looked after me and that was a great experience too.

I wanted to get a job after I moved to Selsey and had applied to some but I couldn’t get any. I was getting lonely as I had no known connections, so then I thought that working at a charity shop would be a good place to try to make some friends. The first time I came into the shop I was just a customer and I met Pat who was very friendly and then I thought it would be nice to work here.

I haven’t met everyone, but those I have are so nice and friendly. When I had an issue with my Visa they were concerned about me. I still came here every week to greet people and when I finally came back as a volunteer they all welcomed me back and I was very appreciative of it. They are all very nice and kind.

Did you know about hospice care?

I knew a bit about hospice care but not exactly what it was like, but I joined a tour a while ago around the Hospice and it was great to see what it was like.

What does your day-to-day look like?

Usually, I am sorting the clothes and I prefer sorting rather than the till as I am still not too confident to have a conversation with customers, so I prefer sorting clothes and things. I will receive donations as well.

How is working with the team and customers?

Great! As I said they are kind and friendly. Customers are usually really nice and friendly too.

Would you like to make a difference to local lives and volunteer for your local hospice?

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