Volunteers at a Hunstanton charity shop have told of how they have benefited from helping others, as a national campaign to attract new recruits gets underway.
Sue Ryder Care has launched a Volunteers are Priceless campaign, which it hopes will encourage more people to help at its stores across the country.
The charity’s Hunstanton branch, in Westgate, is currently manned by two paid employees and 14 volunteers.
Manager Jilly Kirk said: “We are very lucky to have a lovely team here. Many of them have been on board for a number of years.”
Several members of the team have revealed how working at the shop has helped them in their own lives.
Ford Bailey, who has a rare genetic brain condition, has worked at the shop for the last five years and said being there had helped him to find a direction in life.
He said: “Sue Ryder retail has given me so much support so far and this year I have new opportunities with a PAT testing course and window dressing in our other shops in the area . I’m very excited about this year”
Leslie Bunn was in severe depression after the death of his mother, and said he found it almost impossible to communicate with others until he began helping at the shop.
He said: “Until I came here, I felt isolated from everything. With Jilly and the team’s kindness, I’ve been able to get my life back, I love it here.”
David Brannan is on a placement at the shop through Norfolk Training Services and said he was working towards retail qualifications that he could not have imagined obtaining otherwise.
“Being part of the team here has given me confidence and I’ve made new friends.”
The shop’s veteran volunteer is Olive Tate who, at the age of 82, remains a firm favourite with colleagues and customers alike.
Mrs Kirk said: “We don’t know what we would do with out her and her attention to detail is fantastic.”
Among the latest recruits is John Marrow, whose regular workplace at the resort’s SeaLife Sanctuary is currently being refurbished after last month’s tidal surge.
His sister, Valerie, has been a volunteer at the shop for several years and he has enjoyed working with her and the other volunteers while he waits for the centre to re-open.
Another recent recruit is Wendy Hare, who Mrs Kirk said likes being on the shop floor with the customers and is a great asset to the shop.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Hunstanton shop is asked to call either Mrs Kirk or assistant manager Jo Martinez on 01485 534414 to find out more.