Leominster Volunteers: the Many Sides to Volunteering

Following their amazing Pound Sale in January, volunteers at Leominster's Home & Living Store discuss their important roles

Leominster Volunteers: the Many Sides to Volunteering

 

Several volunteers at the Leominster Home & Living Store have been working for the Retail Team for many years, and they say the key to their longstanding commitment is socialising, gratitude and beating boredom by joining an alternative workforce.

The Leominster showroom has had several excellent sales weeks, including earlier in January when they held a three day Pound Sale that saw queues outside the doors and twelve-deep up to the tills.

One customer bought £390 worth of items in one go, and the showroom put through over £1,000 in their first HOUR of the Pound Sale’s opening. The showroom had their best week’s income ever.

Without the support and enthusiasm of the showroom’s vital volunteer workforce, none of these ventures would be possible.

Mark Crompton, the Leominster Home & Living Store Manager, described the process. “We came up with the idea on the Tuesday to have a pound sale. We sorted out the pricing and sales areas and alerted our Facebook page followers about the Sale on the Wednesday, and we opened to a crowd of people on the Thursday morning.

“It was a really exciting time: all the volunteers wanted to know how the takings were doing and how many people were queuing to pay. They moved the stock throughout and made sure that we sold everything we could They really loved it.

” As a Manager, I’m just the glue that holds us all together. Our volunteers are the backbone of our store: they do so many days that some of them mirror my own hours. They are helpful, reliable, uncomplaining and so much fun to work with. Without them, this place wouldn’t be half the success that it is.”

Maxine Field, who has been volunteering at the Home & Living Store for five years, remembers the Pound Sale slightly differently. “It was really hard work, keeping it all tidy and useable. But we really did well, and I love it here, really.”

Maxine has a son at home with health issues that need flexible scheduling, so full time work is difficult to organise. She volunteers four days a week at the showroom and finds that it suits her lifestyle: “It has a good social side, and you feel like you’re out in the workforce. St Michael’s is a good charity to volunteer for: everyone here is really dedicated to it.”

Just ask volunteer PAT Tester John Peacock, who has volunteered for the Hospice Showroom in Leominster for over three and a half years. “I started off working the back door here, accepting donations as they arrived, but the need for someone to safety-test the electrical goods was very important. I took a course online through the Hospice and have worked here three days a week ever since.”

John was a househusband who wanted to get out in the community more: “The Home & Living Store is a decent walk from home, and I’ve discovered some extraordinary things that people have donated to St Michael’s while I’ve worked here.”

Pete Gallimore has been the Hospice’s “Back Door Man” for about three years this January and he works five days a week. “Volunteering really occupies your mind and keeps your sanity. I love helping bring in the donations: we get to see the most interesting things here.”

Rob Holland also helps at the back door two days a week: after his wife died, he wanted to give something back to the Hospice. “I was widowed recently, and I felt like I was missing out on company. My sister-in-law works at the Bromyard Hospice Shop and suggested I volunteer here. I think for me it’s about gratitude for everything the Hospice did for my wife.”

Volunteers bring all sorts of skills to help maintain the shops. Peter Phillips has kept the Home & Living Store’s books as a volunteer for over seven years now. After leaving the workforce for health reasons, he happened to strike up a conversation with the then-manager. “They really needed someone to help them as they expanded, and I was happy to help. It’s all grown from there: my wife, Rosamund, also volunteers here. We’ve had several friends who have been helped by the Hospice, which really does make it easy to work here.”