A charity shop in Lancing is marking national volunteers week by thanking its volunteers for their ‘vital support’ – and encouraging more residents to donate their time.
Samantha Firth, shop manager, thanked the volunteers at Mind in Queens Parade, North Road, for helping raise crucial funds for the mental health charity.
“They really are the lifeblood of our charity, we can’t function without them,” she said.
“Volunteers are at the heart of everything the shop does – sorting clothes, creating displays, helping customers. It’s hard work, but it’s really rewarding.”
The shop was planning a series of fun events, from personalised volunteer awards to barbecues on the beach, to celebrate volunteer week, which starts on Friday (June 1), she said.
Volunteers at the shop come from a wide range of ages and abilities, including people with learning disabilities and those who have experienced mental health issues.
“It’s a safe place to be, with people who understand, and I think people enjoy that,” she said.
“They can come here and have fun, that’s the main thing.”
The youngest volunteer currently at the store is a 15-year-old working towards a Duke of Edinburgh award.
The longest-serving volunteer has been at the shop for more than ten years and is ‘absolutely fantastic’, Miss Firth said.
To support their development, Mind offers volunteers the opportunity to undertake an national vocational qualification free of charge in customer service, and Miss Firth said the best part of her role was watching volunteers develop.
“Sometimes we manage to boost people’s confidence enough and give them new skills so they can go out and get a job somewhere else,” she said.
“It really does change some people’s lives.”
The shop is keen to recruit new volunteers.
Anyone interested should visit the store to set up an induction. Alternatively, call 01903 756259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org