Without our volunteers, we simply wouldn’t be able to continue proving our vital services to the children and families who need us most. Our volunteers are a huge asset to us and we’re incredibly grateful for their dedication and commitment.

Volunteering comes with many benefits and, for students, in particular, it can offer wonderful opportunities to develop new skills, confidence and gain valuable experiences. Last week, we caught up with French business student and retail volunteer Tanguy Botwright to find out more about his experience at Demelza.

 Tanguy is standing in the stock room holding a small puppy.

How volunteering helps students

Speaking about his background and current studies, Tanguy shares: “My name is Tanguy Botwright, I am 20 years old and I live in the South West of France, in a small village called Aire sur l'Adour. My father is English and my mother is French, so I am fortunate to have dual nationality. My paternal grandparents live in Hythe, so I rarely have the opportunity to see them, moreover, having always lived in France I did not speak English very well.

“I have been studying business for three years and since September I have been in a business school in La Rochelle [France]. In my school programme, I have the chance to spend six weeks in an English-speaking country, which is why I took the opportunity to go to my grandparents in Hythe and learn English at their side and get to know them.”

Photo: Tanguy with fellow volunteer Sandra's puppy, Bruno.

Tanguy has been working full time in our charity shop in Hythe for the past five weeks and saw it as a good opportunity to support Demelza and the vital work we do:

“I wanted to volunteer because I think it is important to help people even if it is indirectly and it also allows me to gain experience. During these first five weeks, I learned many things that I can highlight in my CV. I was also able to meet a large number of people; indeed, we are around 40 volunteers in the store and we engage with people of all ages so it is possible to discuss many and different topics.”

Speaking about the connection his family has with Demelza Tanguy tells us: “I know Demelza because my father’s cousin was a sick child and she was taken over by the Demelza hospice so it was important to me to work in this organisation. I love trade so everything is perfect for me to have a great time in the store.”

Volunteering can help students in many ways and for Tanguy it has allowed him to improve his English. He shares: “Volunteering with Demelza allowed me to improve my English, by talking with the other volunteers who are all very welcoming and with customers when I am behind the cash register.

“What I like most about the organisation is that all the volunteers work in a good atmosphere and I think the customers feel it and all this creates a good atmosphere throughout the store. I was recently able to help a volunteer colleague to organise the windows for Valentine’s Day that allowed me to give way to my imagination.”

Join Demelza’s retail team

If reading about Tanguy’s volunteering experience with Demelza has made you keen to get involved, we would love to hear from you. Whether you can give an hour a week, or more time, our retail teams would love to have you on board.

We asked Tanguy what he would say to anyone thinking about volunteering with Demelza? He has this to say:

“I will tell these people to get going, to go and talk to any volunteer in a shop, and to offer a hand for one or two hours in a week. People will only benefit from this either socially (by meeting a large number of people) or in terms of skills.”

Finally, a huge thank you Tanguy for sharing his experience and to all our dedicated volunteers - it’s a privilege to have you with us as part of #TeamDemelza.

Get in touch with our volunteering team today and find out more about how you can get involved: