Sara Jones - Hospice Shop Volunteer
Volunteer at the East Lancashire Hospice Shop in Accrington, each Friday morning.
What does your role involve?
I am one of the army of volunteers who give their time to help East Lancashire Hospice raise the £3.7M needed each year.
My roles include changing the displays, sorting out donations, pricing up new items and serving customers. I help to sort out the donations of clothes that need steaming, the electrical items for the warehouse and the bric-a-brac.
How did you get the experience to do the role you do now?
I used to have my own shops - a corner shop in Accrington, and a chocolate box in Darwen. I like everything looking just so. It’s amazing how just changing a display can help an item to sell.
Over the years I have met people from all walks of life which has given me many experiences, I feel the most important thing to do this role to be honest and reliable, a desire to do the role and to be friendly to all our customers. I’ve also worked as manager of building societies for over 20 years, so I’m good with people.
Before retiring as a magistrate for Accrington and Blackburn, I was looking for something to do. I attended a volunteers’ event at the library in Accrington where a lady suggested I contact East Lancashire Hospice. I was willing to give two mornings a week and was willing to do all sorts. I didn’t want to travel to Blackburn each week so I contacted them about the hospice shop. I handed in my references and started the following week. That was three years ago.
My husband Cliff was cared for at the Hospice 24 years ago and the staff made a lasting impression. They were wonderful with him. The hospice did so much for my husband when he had cancer to make him comfortable. Cliff had been ill for 12 months prior to his death from terminal cancer.
Although it took me six months to get him to go to the hospice, when he did he realised what a wonderful place it is. It was a long time ago since Cliff was there and it looks completely different, but the care hasn’t changed. Cliff used to also enjoy taking part in the Creative and Support Therapies. It game him something to look forward to each week.
When Cliff passed away, I went on a course for counselling and it made me want to help others.
What time do you start and finish typically?
I work each Friday from 9am until 1.30pm. I generally get there a little early and have a sweep around the shop before the customers come in.
What’s the best thing about working for the hospice?
I love my little job. The people are great and it gives me a lot of pleasure knowing that I’m giving something back. The people who work there and the customers that come into the shop, and knowing that every single penny is helping someone in need in the local community.
I love coming in and seeing what else has come in that week. It costs me money – because I’m always buying something! I even get requests from my family!
It’s also reassuring to know that all the money I’m helping to raise in the shop is going to providing the nurses and care that’s needed in the community. It’s nice to be able to see how the money is being spent, and the people it is helping.
I will carry on at the hospice as long as I can, and as long as I am needed.
To view our current volunteer vacancies, please click here