In order to celebrate our amazing volunteers this National Volunteers’ Week, we’re shining a spotlight on the profiles of our volunteers at the Petergate shop. From volunteer online photographer all the way up to volunteer assistant manager, there are all sorts of roles available – it’s not all just working on the shop floor. We’ll put a link to download an application form for our volunteer roles here , just in case you get inspired.
First up is Isabel (featured above), who joined us a year and a half ago as a volunteer shop assistant, and, rather generously, answered a few of our questions.
What does being a Volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?
When I first started volunteering a year and a half ago, I was unemployed, lonely and depressed and going to volunteer at Oxfam once a week gave me a purpose and something to get out of bed for. There was some people who counted on me and that needed me. I was being useful! I’ve also always wanted to do something for a charity and I find the work that Oxfam does is admirable. It corresponds to my vision of how to make the world a better place. Empowering women, giving everyone access to clean water and other poverty relief actions and campaigns are the most important things to move forward in my opinion.
Volunteering in the Oxfam shop also meant that I could be around people whether it was the customers or the other volunteers and when you’re unemployed in a town where you don’t have many friends it means a lot. It also boosted my self-confidence so much and gave me some work experience so that I was eventually able to find a job. I learnt a lot of things about retail, about books, about charity work and about social media during my time volunteering here.
What is the most enjoyable par of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?
The people! I’ve met so many lovely volunteers here and I also really get on with the manager. Seeing all those friendly faces and chatting while we do the work is one of the reasons volunteering here is so great.
What surprised you most when you became volunteer with Oxfam?
I had not realised the impact the charity shops have. We really do raise a nice amount of money for Oxfam! The work we do here does have an impact, we are making a difference! And that makes me really happy, that I can help causes which I care about.
How would you describe your Volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?
Volunteering at Oxfam means helping myself and helping others!