Volunteering at the store
Since the lockdown last spring many of us have changed the way we shop. Out of necessity, “local” has become much more important and this has been reflected in the number of valley residents using our store. Managers, Garry and Emma and duty managers Carolyn, Sean, Lucy and Becky had to work incredibly hard to keep on top of the increase in turnover. But there was one more element that was (and still is) critical to the store’s successful operation – our amazing volunteers! Together they have generously committed thousands of hours to serving cheerfully at the tills, filling shelves, cleaning and tidying, collecting produce from suppliers or delivering shopping to isolating families.
Two people who given many extra hours of volunteering at the store during lockdown, write here about their experiences.
Catherine says: “I am thoroughly enjoying my shop volunteering, an unexpected bonus of lockdown which forced me to stop my coaching work. Having been very well supported by the local community over the last 22 years of tennis coaching, it has been very special to be able to give something back. The CVS management team are hugely supportive and encouraging to all volunteers and it is a very happy place to work. In particular, it has been lovely to get to know locals that I hadn’t met before. I would thoroughly recommend volunteering at the store to anyone who has a few spare hours a week or someone who has a bit more time on their hands. It is hugely rewarding to be part of such an important service in our community, especially in these restricted times. It is also heartening to hear customers’ gratitude for everything that the shop and post office provides. The store has become part of the beating heart of our wonderful community and it is a privilege to be part of the volunteering team.”
Stephanie told us: “I wanted to get involved in volunteering at the shop from the outset because I felt that after all the hard work that had gone into getting it built, it was the very least I could do to support it. Anyone who has been into the shop can see what a wonderful environment has been created, which makes it such a lovely place to work.
As a volunteer you are only asked to work two-hour shifts. This makes helping out so much more manageable, which is key if you already have a job or a busy life (pre-Covid!). When my work as a reflexologist had to stop due to the various lockdowns, I upped the number shifts I was doing to help keep me sane and occupied. I remember wanting to put my name down for daily shifts but felt I was denying the opportunity to others, so restricted myself to three a week! I’m always amazed at how patient Gary and Emma are, given so many of us work there in a single day, probably asking the same questions over and over!
I feel that the shop has had a very unifying impact on our communities and has played a vital role during the pandemic. When the major supermarkets had run out of loo roll, yeast and flour we had them and because of the wide variety of products stocked at the shop, it saved people from having to go further afield when they didn’t want to.
I would highly recommend stepping up to volunteer a few hours of your time, as seeing and catching up with old and new faces every shift and feeling that you are contributing to village life, is really uplifting.”
A sincere thank you to Catherine and Stephanie and to every single one of our volunteers. If this has inspired you, please join us! To find out more call Jane Laws on 01256 389491 or email firstname.lastname@example.org