SIAN, a volunteer at our Charity Shop in Grimsby, has been with the organisation for three years and she spoke of her experiences with YMCA Humber, helping the young people of the charity’s housing projects and her own development.
The 20-year-old originally sought volunteering at the shop to aid her own work experience but she now admits that she has a real affinity to the organisation.
She said: “I have been at the shop for three years and I first started volunteering to gain some work experience.
“But it has gone far beyond that for me now because I have made so many friends through the shop and it really is like a community with all the different customers we get coming in.
“There are some real characters who come in and join us, not just to purchase items or donate but to find out about the work of the wider organisation.
“Each day is different and that is something I really enjoy about volunteering at the shop.”
But the experience of working at the Willows-based premises has also had a positive influence on Sian herself, one that she hopes she can take forward into full-time employment.
She continued: “I have learnt so many skills during my time here.
“I originally wanted to work on my customer service skills and I have obviously had the chance to do that.
“But I have also picked up so many other aspects; money handling, pricing, how to set out clothes and donations – there are so many different things that go into making a charity shop run efficiently and successfully.”
Away from the charity shop, Sian has got involved in YMCA’s Sleep Easy event and she credits volunteering as educating her to the challenges that young people in the housing projects face.
“In January I was part of the team from the charity shop that took part in Sleep Easy,” she said.
“I was really pleased to be involved because the funds raised go towards some fantastic charities and you get a real insight into the work they do just by working at shop.
“We often get young people who are moving on from the projects into their own accommodation who come to us to volunteer or even purchase affordable, good quality items.
“And that money raised goes straight back into helping YMCA, so it is a really good way of benefiting a variety of young people.”
Sian is hoping that she can stay involved with YMCA Humber in the future, even if her employment aspirations lead her elsewhere.
She carried on: “I really enjoy working with the public, so if a similar role came up for me to start a career with then that would be a good opportunity for me.
“But YMCA has given so much to me and I know what great work it does in the community, so I would like to carry on helping out in any way I could, even if I wasn’t volunteering at the shop.”
For more details on volunteering at the charity shop or to donate unwanted items, please call Matt Woodley, Charity Shop Manager, on (01472) 886906 or visit our website www.ymca-humber.com.