Mellissa began working for our Rochester shop as a volunteer – she's now Assistant Manager.
I started as a volunteer for Mind's shop in Rochester as I wanted to improve my skills. They were offering to help me take an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) in Retail as part of the role and that really appealed to me. I also cared about mental health and wanted to help raise money towards the cause.
"I was nervous about starting."
However, I was nervous about starting as I hadn't had a pleasant time in my previous job and had been out of work for a while. I'd also never worked in a charity shop before so I didn't know what to expect.
"This is the best job I've ever had."
But compared to my previous experiences, this is the best job I've ever had. Everyone's so friendly – from the volunteers to the staff at head office. It's been really great to meet and talk to new people from all kinds of backgrounds and ages. Therefore, when the opportunity came up to become Assistant Manager, following my NVQ, I applied so I could stay on more permanently and get even more involved.
"I love the variety each day brings."
I love the variety that each day brings. You never know what donations you might receive – there's always something that can be changed or improved around the shop. You can apply your talents to anything and you can always ask for help or learn something new.
The Rochester Dickens Festival was a particular highlight. I'm really proud of all the hard work that went into sorting out the stock and making the shop all themed. We even dressed up like Dickens' characters.
If you're thinking of applying for a Mind shop, I'd really encourage you to go for it. It's really helped me change my life.