Gemma Cruttenden, Ecommerce and Communication Manager has taken the time to share with us why she loves working with volunteers.

“I’ve gained so many skills over the last 10 years it is hard to really capture how much I’ve changed. I think communication is a really key part to working in our retail store, we have such a wide range of volunteers and as a result you need to be able to just talk to people and establish those relationships.

“The art uni being local also helped us to evolve as a shop. It bought in a different type of customer for us and to a certain extent dictated our tone. It has also meant that we have a real range of volunteers. I often say this, but where else can you have a friendship group aged 21-87 that all get along – personally, I don’t think I would get this anywhere else.

“Charity shops also have a massive impact on the people in our local community. 85% of our younger volunteers are able to go on and find a job. Volunteering for us gives them the chance they need to get some experience. It also has a positive impact on their wellbeing.

“For me it is extremely rewarding when we’ve had volunteers that have gone from being anxious and shy to running a shop floor six months later. I would like to think that we give a safe space for volunteers going through real issues and challenges and create an environment where they can blossom.

“At the end of the day if volunteers are happy then we’ve done OK in my mind. I always say to my volunteers if you’re not having fun, then there is no point doing it.”

We would love to hear your volunteer stories – please get in touch with our marketing team (marketingandcommunications@demelza.org.uk) and share your story.