When he was sent to the Demelza shop in Herne Bay on work experience, teenager Jack Sharp was far from enthusiastic about the idea.

Recently moved to Kent from Lincolnshire having finished college with no real idea of what he wanted to do with his life, the then 19-year-old would never have believed that less than one year on he would be starting out on an exciting career.

As soon as he started his two-week stint, Jack found he loved it, in particular the chance to get to know people of all ages and experiences while supporting a good cause that was close to his heart. He immediately signed up as a full-time volunteer while looking for work.

Jack said: “I had a challenging start to life after being born with one kidney, curvature of the spine and a number of other health issues. I had 15 major surgeries by the time I was 10. Volunteering at Demelza felt like a natural affinity for me because of the adversities that children with serious or terminal conditions face. It meant a lot to be supporting the vital work that Demelza does.”

His dedication was recognised when he was chosen as the Charity Retail Association’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2015, a boost to his CV that helped him land a job as Assistant Manager at the Demelza shop in Canterbury.

Since then, Jack’s career has gone from strength to strength. Six years on, he is now the Manager of the Demelza shop in Canterbury which has undergone a recent refurbishment and now boasts an impressive men’s department which has proven to be a hit with customers.

“Since coming to Demelza all those years ago, I have never looked back,” says Jack, now 25. “I love working here and never want to work anywhere other than a charity now. It was amazing feeling to finally welcome customers back after months of closure because of the pandemic.

“I’ve also been blown away by the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers. They love being here as much as I do. If anyone is interested in joining the team; our doors are always open – there’s no better place to learn new skills but most importantly have fun.”

If you're interested in volunteering for Demelza and would like to find out more you can read more about joining #TeamDemelza here, or alternatively you can contact our Volunteering Team directly on volunteering@demelza.org.uk.