To volunteer, or not to volunteer

Published: August 6, 2018

I would love to volunteer…

But will I really gain anything in turn?

It’s a great way to help a cause close to my heart…

But is my time better spent doing something else?

Does this sound like something you would say? Have you seen a volunteer opportunity and asked yourself the same questions?

Meet Joanne and Jacqueline (pictured), two of the three shop volunteers who recently gained paid employment through volunteering at Richard House. They both now work as relief shop managers in our charity shops and their stories show that volunteering really can lead to paid employment.

Why did you decide to volunteer?


My daughter was starting school and I was looking for work. However, as I was only looking for part time work to fit around the kids being in school, it wasn’t that easy so I decided to volunteer.


I decided to volunteer as I was looking for something to do to get me back into work.

How did volunteering help when it came to applying for the paid position?


During my time here, I learned how to run a charity shop, so when the paid opportunity came up, I decided to go for it. I had never done retail before, so the skills I learned helped me to get my job, for example when I had my interview they asked me questions about accepting donations at the shop and health and safety regulations. So yes, it definitely helped.


When it came to getting my job, because I volunteered in this shop, I already knew how it was run. I knew how to operate the till, and pretty much every aspect – the pricing, the ticketing, steaming, sorting. Volunteering is definitely a good way of getting into employment – you get the experience.

What would you say to anyone thinking of volunteering?


If you’re thinking of volunteering go for it, 100% go for it. I was looking for work after five years off after having my children and my friends had said if you start volunteering somewhere you never know where it will lead. In my head, I sort of thought, ‘Hmm, I don’t know…’ But I started volunteering and I got a part time position, which is exactly what I was after.


If anyone is thinking of volunteering I’d tell them to go for it. I’ve been at four out of the seven Richard House shops and they are all brilliant, so yes definitely go for it!

What does your day to day job involve?


My day to day involves everything! From making tea to sorting to pricing to serving to arranging the shop to cleaning to putting the bins out! Everything!

What do you enjoy most about your job?


I enjoy meeting new people and chatting to adults! I’ve always worked up until the birth of my second child so getting back into work, just doing something and keeping my mind active was important to me.


I enjoy working here as the staff here are incredible – they are so nice, all of them and that makes a really big difference. Everybody knows what they’re doing so it makes it really easy to run the shop. And everyone transitioned really well after I got my job.

Does it help inspire and motivate you knowing that the money the shop raises goes towards a children’s hospice?


It’s very motivating to know that the money raised is for a hospice and making a difference to children as I have children myself.


It only really hit me when we got taken around the hospice and saw what the money is used for. If I was going to volunteer it would have to have been something I was connected to, whether that was children or a health cause personal to me. So yes, it is definitely inspiring.

Are you glad you took the chance and volunteered?


I love it! I’m 100% glad I took that chance and volunteered.

Convinced? Find your perfect volunteer opportunity and apply today! We have many exciting opportunities waiting for you here.