I decided to start volunteering at the Wessex Cancer Trust Charity shop in Weeke, Winchester, at the beginning of June 2016. Like many returning students, I hadn’t managed to find a full-time job for the summer to keep out of mischief, and I wanted to try something new.

I popped in to grab a form, and was welcomed by the lovely shop manager, who quickly told me everything I needed to know; I went away and was volunteering within the week.

In our shop, there are lots of wonderful volunteers who come in and look after their own departments, so there is a real sense of pride about what we do. I personally normally work on the till, where I interact with all of our lovely customers who come in. I usually try and have a natter with our regulars, who we all immensely value, and consider as friends.

Whilst working on the till, I also often complete little tasks, such as checking through children’s games (and playing with them!) I also organise and tidy the shop floor as the day goes on, as well as putting out books and clothes. When I’m not working on the till, I am out in the back sorting through all of the generous donations that come in every day. Here again, you get a sense of the pride that everyone who works there has; each volunteer knows what they are doing, with new volunteers being quickly welcomed into the family.

We have a lady who sorts the books, another who runs the children’s department, ladies who like sorting out the window display to entice customers in, and a gentleman who comes in to sort through all of our media donations. There really is something for everyone!  

When we’re not working, you will find us treating each other to freshly baked or bought goods, as tea breaks are a very important part of our day!

At Wessex Cancer Trust, I honestly feel that I have grown and developed as a person, and all for the better. Working on the till has increased my confidence with communicating, and the tasks that I complete are all met with gratitude and love.

I love to volunteer, and have spent a lot of my holiday time coming back to the shop; it is the sort of environment where magical moments like that are made possible.