After deciding not to participate in NCS this summer I still decided to try and make use of all the time I have off. I got a volunteering place at my local RSPCA charity shop, doing four hours each morning for a week.
I was quite sceptical about this because my village tends to be quite in the week so I wasn’t expecting to have much to do but I was willing to try anyway in an attempt to gain experience and make use of my summer.
I did it because it could help me gain in confidence around new people/situations and would give me valuable work experience. I also did it because it’s very rewarding, it was nice to know that by offering my time I was helping to raise money and being part of a positive change. It was also rewarding when you saw people looking at the displays you’d had set out or the pile of clothes in the back got smaller and smaller.
I have loads of free time this summer as I’ve had so much time off and I wanted to put it to good use and use my time to help myself and to help others.
Everyone who works/volunteers at the shop was so lovely and easy to get on with, I was the youngest by far but that didn’t seem to matter and they didn’t treat me any differently. They were always up for a chat when the shop was really quiet and it was just such a welcoming and lovely environment to be in.
I gained so much experience during this week and gained in social skills as well.
For the first day I just had to put tags on clothes and hang them up so they were ready to go out. I thought this would make the four hours drag but, by the time I’d swapped old tags and hung everything up the time went so quickly. Then on the second day I steamed clothes for half the morning and did some more tagging for the second half. Although at times this could be tedious it was good to gain experience in preparing stock and sorting out stock that had been donated during that day.
The third and fourth days were definitely my favourite, I was taught how to use the till and spent both these days on the shop floor, serving customers and making sure everything was tidy. This allowed me to gain some customer service skills which, hopefully, will help me in my search for a job. I also discovered that I like serving customers and helping them find things that they need.
Overall I really enjoyed my volunteering experience and would definitely do it again. If you’ve found yourself with loads of free time this summer I’d really recommend giving a few hours of your time to a local charity shop. It’s so rewarding and you’re helping other people whilst gaining new experiences.