Posted: 04 June 2018

Being a retail volunteer - Sean's story

National Volunteers’ Week takes place 1-7 June and it’s our chance to celebrate the fantastic work our volunteers do to change the lives of vulnerable young people.

Around 8500 people give up their time to support us, and it’s their contributions that help more children and young people experience a good childhood.

This Volunteers’ Week, we’ll be sharing inspiring stories from our amazing volunteers.

Today we're catching up with Sean Northgate.

Transforming lives in our charity shops

Sean is one of our nearly 3000 volunteers who help run over 100 of our high street charity shops. Theses stores are vibrant hubs that help raise awareness of our work in local communities across the country.

Our Retail team have had a record year, thanks to volunteers just like Sean who generously give us their time. These volunteers come from all walks of life, some are young people looking to gain work experience, or retired individuals looking to keep active.
Some are individuals who are looking to improve their English, or there are those with strong ties in the community who want to give back.

What they all have in common is a shared desire to improve lives of young people who have often been let down.

We talk to Sean about his motivations for and experience of volunteering at his local charity shop.

Sean’s story

What do you most enjoy about volunteering with The Children’s Society?
What I really enjoy is that every day is different and that the managers and fellow volunteers make me feel welcome and part of the team. I also love helping customers.

What have you gained from volunteering with us?

Volunteering with The Children's Society has given me much more confidence and belief in myself, as well as gaining retail skills.

Is there a specific area of our work that you are particularly passionate about and motivates you about volunteering with us? 
I had a very tough childhood and felt I had nowhere to turn but feel with The Children's Society children and young people have somewhere to turn in times of difficulty.

How do you feel our high street shops and volunteers like you contribute to our work with vulnerable young people?
The Children's Society’s shops are the public face of the organisation and an alternative way to raise much needed funds and highlight the work the charity do, for example the current campaign Seriously Awkward highlighting the difficulties in the transition from 16 and 17 to 18 and adulthood.

What has been your most memorable experience during your time volunteering with us?
I have had so many memorable experiences during my time with The Children's Society but I would have to say how welcome I have been made to feel by the other volunteers and management, and when I was asked to take charge of the music and media section in the shop.

What advice would you give to new volunteers to make the most of their experience?
Enjoy it. Volunteering is so rewarding and you will always find something new to learn and to develop as a member of the team and as a person.

Watch our volunteer video

Watch our volunteer video below for more reasons and other ways to get involved. 

Not involved yet? Join us!

Sound inspiring? Would you like to join the thousands of volunteers who make the work we do possible?

Whatever time you have available to give, it will make a difference. Browse our volunteer roles and help us to be there for young people when they need us most.