When we were working full-time we always knew that we would do some voluntary work together when we retired to keep ourselves busy.
Having reached that stage we realised that we particularly wanted to do something that related to our specific interests but equally was of value to the local community.
We had been members of Herefordshire Wildlife Trust for many years and when we received a circular asking for volunteers at its charity shop in Ledbury it seemed like a sign!!
After an interview with the shop Manager, we were accepted as volunteers and we have been working there ever since.
From our perspective the great attraction of working in the shop is that there are a variety of tasks you can undertake.
If you don't fancy the customer service side of the job, you can sort the donations ready for sale. Alternatively, you can spend time on-line researching some of the more obscure donations to make sure that the price that is eventually charged in the shop is fair and reasonable. Whatever you do, you become part of the team.
We had no background in retail when we started and had never even operated a till, but whatever area interests you, support and guidance is always available from the Manager. You're never asked to do something that you don't feel comfortable with.
Additionally, because of an interest in crafting, one half of our 'double-act' has been able to create items for sale in the shop, notably paper hedgehogs from second hand books. Other items are now rolling off the production line!!
For us, the best part has been the interaction with customers. Many are regular visitors and you get to build a relationship with them. We have met some great people and it's been really fascinating to find what interests different people through their purchases.
However, we are always conscious that this is a commercial operation and if we can make the customers feel welcome, they are more likely to return (and spend more money!!)
We are now key-holders at the shop, which means that we can open and close the shop on the day that we are volunteering and we enjoy the additional responsibility that that brings.
Ultimately, though, I think the important thing for us is the knowledge that our volunteering, and that of every other single volunteer in the shop, is making a difference for the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.
The more money that can be raised then the aims of the Trust are more likely to be met. That is a very satisfying feeling.
So, to turn around the original question in the title - 'Why would you not volunteer for HWT?' Give it a go - and make a difference!!