For National Volunteers Week we wanted to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to TRAID volunteers past and present and share the stories of the people that generously give their time to support our work.

Today we say a big Thank You to Brixton shop volunteer Melissa.

Melissa, pictured with Brixton shop manager Diana, has volunteered since December 2017
Melissa, pictured with Brixton shop manager Diana, has volunteered since December 2017

TRAID: Hi Melissa, can you tell us a bit about why you started volunteering at TRAID?

Melissa: I had spare time and I love clothes! I kind of stumbled upon it all by accident. I was looking for something on the Internet, came across the TRAID website and it gave me all the information about volunteering and the impact and I thought TRAID would be a good organisation to volunteer for. It ticked all the boxes: giving something back to the community, helping others less fortunate and I thought, yeah, that sounds like a place I’d like to be.

TRAID: What’s your experience of volunteering at TRAID been like?

Melissa: All the staff are really welcoming and patient with me. If I was shown something and then the next time I was in I’d forgotten again, they’d be like ‘it’s okay you’ll get it in the end’. It’s like a nice little family here. And you come here and you have fun. You know, when you have a job and you’re working and you’re enjoying it so it doesn’t feel like a chore. It doesn’t feel mundane. I’ve really enjoyed my experience. You see, I’ve been out of work for a while now, I got made redundant and it really does take a knock on your confidence and self-esteem. I thought let me slowly get myself back out into the World. It’s really helped me to become confident again and getting to meet people. I’m glad. It’s made a real difference to my life. I feel more positive, more confident. I used to work in education before I was made redundant so volunteering at TRAID has allowed me to learn loads of skills in terms of working in a shop, the processes of what goes in to working in retail. You see, you go into a shop, you pick something up and you go and pay for it. You don’t think about the process of that product – what it goes through to get on the shelves or rails. I’ve learnt all these skills that I can put on my CV, different to what I did before. I’ve now got another set of new skills under my hat and I’m pleased about that.

TRAID: Thank you for sharing your story Melissa, lastly, is there anything you would want to say to anyone considering volunteering at TRAID?

Melissa: It’s a great place to volunteer, and it’s good to know that what you’re doing is helping others, not just yourself.

If you’ve been inspired by any of the volunteer stories we’ve shared with you this week and are considering volunteering at TRAID you can register your interest here.