Saturday, February 25, 2012

My life as a volunteer in a Charity Shop


As I told you in my last article, I found a job as a volunteer in a Charity Shop located next to the city I live in. Now, since my stay in the UK is nearly finished, I thought it was time to tell the world what I've been doing there this far !

First, I'll talk about the shop itself, and then, I'll tell you more about my work... 

All4Kids, Children's Charity Shop

Picture of the shop from outside, in case it wasn't obvious !

This charity shop (All4Kids) actually belongs to an non-profit organization called SOS!SEN, whose purpose is to help the parents of children who may have special educational needs (SEN). To do so, they have created a free telephone hotline that anybody can call for free. The help provided can consist in interpreting letters, giving advice or any other kind of help. To keep this service free, they needed quite a lot of funds and volunteers. This is why they launched All4Kids in 2009 : while the hotline service they offer doesn't cost anything, the charity shop enable them to get quite a lot of money to continue support its activity and organise different kind of projects.

An example of all the donations we receive from people

The goal of All4Kids is simple : Selling second hand items for kids at a very low price to let the shop live and to support the SOS!SEN hotline. It is a great deal both for the customers (who can get cheap stuff for their children) and the organisation (who receives the money to keep the hotline free) ! This concept can look risky (in case of a lack of donations or volunteers), but it seems quite reliable as we can see many charity shops in the country.

My personal experience as a volunteer

• How often do I work there as a volunteer ?

It depends on the needs of the shop and the donations we receive ! I usually work there 5 days a week, but sometimes, they ask me to stay longer or to leave earlier depending on the situation.

A picture of the inside of the shop

• What are the different tasks I have to do ?

Since we sell a lot of different items in the shop, we have many things to do : sorting out and ironing the clothes, cleaning up the toys and checking if they are complete and ready to be sold, changing the old batteries in them, tyding up the shelves after the evil children left the shop, cleaning the DVDs and CDs, putting a price on each item... and all that kind of stuff. I think this is why they accepted to hire me : contrarely to other shops, there is a lot of manual work to do here ! Of course, we also have to talk with clients and deal with the people who give donations to the shop.

Basically, this is what I do everyday !

Another picture of the shop

• What's my opinion and thoughts about this experience ?

It is a real pleasure to work in this Charity Shop ! The other volunteers are all nice, and they all try to talk to me to help me improve my English. Also, Even more than that, I like to feel useful to people who need help ! It's quite nice to think "this is boring as hell, but at least, it can help somebody".

Regarding the difficulties I have had during the internship, I have to admit that spoken English (or slang) is really more difficult that the English we are taught in class ! At the beginning, it was a little bit hard to understand, but I think I can get almost everything the people tell me now !

Now I'm done ! In the next article, I'll post about some random stuff I've seen and done here, and then I will have to say good bye to the UK !

じゃね !

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