Nearly one in ten (9%) people in England and Wales say they have volunteered in charity shops for emotional support over the last 12 months
Nearly one in ten (9%) people in England and Wales say they have volunteered in charity shops for emotional support over the last 12 months, according to new research from the mental health charity Mind. Charity shops are also a beacon of kindness within the local community, with the survey revealing over a quarter (26%) of people said they found charity shops to be supportive and friendly communities.
The findings come as the charity celebrates Volunteers Week (1-7 June) and the incredible dedication of all those who give their time to raise awareness and funds. This includes in over 160 Mind shops across England and Wales that rely on a network of 3,000 passionate volunteers who give hours of their time to serve their local communities.
Emma Jordan, from Retford, started her journey with Mind as a volunteer and has been with the charity for over two decades, progressing to Manager of Retford Mind shop. She speaks of how life changing the decision to volunteer was, not only for developing her skills and experience in retail but in providing her with emotional support.
Emma Jordan, Manager of Retford Mind shop, says:
“When I first started volunteering with Mind, I had very little confidence and struggled in social situations. I was 21 years old with barely any work experience, so the job centre suggested that I volunteer in a local charity shop. Without a doubt I would not be where I am today if I hadn't volunteered. I immediately felt valued and was able to be creative knowing that my input was going to make a real difference. Volunteering not only increased my knowledge and skills but also my confidence and self-worth.
“The thing I loved most about volunteering was undoubtedly the people. The staff and volunteers I worked with inspired, motivated and supported me. And no matter what was going on in our personal lives, the shop would become our sanctuary and our safe space. A lot has changed over the 20 plus years that I have been with Mind but the one thing that has remained constant is the network of support and dedication.
“Volunteering has so many benefits, whether you want to make new friends, learn new skills, gain confidence or simply just help. Our shops cannot run without the dedication and support of our volunteers. So if you are considering becoming a volunteer, please don’t be nervous and pop into your local shop. We need you and we value you.”
Andrew Vale, Director of Retail at Mind, says:
“We at Mind love to celebrate our volunteers all year round. But during Volunteers week we want to especially thank all our volunteers past and present for their dedication and hard work. They are a key part of the work that we do, leading the way with their passion and commitment to the customers they interact with daily.
“Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, build confidence and it can be a route back into work. If you’re considering volunteering then please do visit your local shop and have a chat with the team. We rely on volunteers to keep our shops running and to help us raise funds so that we can continue to support everyone experiencing a mental health problem.”
Last year, Mind shops across England and Wales collectively raised £6.2 million which helps fund the charity’s vital work such as the Mind Infoline, information and advice services, and the campaigning Mind does to support the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.