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Volunteers' Week 2021: Shining the spotlight on Scope's fantastic volunteers

This Volunteers’ Week, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our incredible volunteers. Meet Peter, Linda Jekaterina and Lindsay – 4 of our hard-working shop volunteers, who are sharing their volunteering stories with us.

Peter Moss – Scope Newbury

Trowbridge resident Peter Moss, 66, clearly loves the team he works with at Scope charity shop in Newbury, as he goes more than the extra mile. He volunteers there 5 days a week, despite it being a 90-mile round trip, which takes almost 3 hours each way on public transport.

Peter used to volunteer at the Trowbridge Scope charity shop, but when it closed, the shop manager knew he was far too valuable, reliable and responsible to let go and was offered a role volunteering at the Newbury shop, where the team and Newbury community welcomed him with open arms.

Shop Manager, Lorraine Smith, knows the shop is in safe hands when Peter comes to volunteer. He looks after the till, makes sure the shop is running smoothly and always takes time to enjoy a chat with the customers.

Volunteer Peter Moss holds a Scope volunteer of the month certificate

At 5pm, Peter makes the 45-mile journey home.

“I absolutely loved volunteering at the Trowbridge shop and made many friends. I was sad when I was told it was closing,” Peter said. “I was made an offer I simply couldn’t refuse, to join the brilliant team at Newbury. When I walked through the door I was given such a wonderful welcome, I couldn’t have been made to feel more at home. That memory will always stay with me.

“They say I go the extra 90 miles a day for my job, but when you work with such lovely people, and get to know our great customers, the thought of knowing you’re helping Scope raise funds for the vital services that support disabled people and their families, I’m the one who gets so much satisfaction.

“You don’t need to go the full 90 miles, but I do recommend volunteering to anyone who has a few spare hours. You’ll find you get so much back.”

Linda Anderson - Scope Gillingham, Dorset

Volunteering is second nature to Linda and being a life-long charity shop fan, this bargain-hunter used to volunteer in her local charity shops in Northamptonshire. When she moved to Gillingham in Dorset, in 2014, she wanted to continue her role as volunteer.

Intrepid Linda decided to do some research in her new town and visited all the charity shops. A chat with the Scope team left her with a warm feeling, and she applied to volunteer. Linda is a natural communicator and volunteering was the perfect conduit to give customers a warm welcome and a big friendly smile.

Volunteer Linda Anderson poses with a white straw hat in a Scope shop. Linda has a big smile and looks like she's having fun.

“When I walked into Scope in Gillingham 6 years ago, I knew I’d found the charity shop I wanted to volunteer in. I had such a lovely feel about both the team and the shop so I signed up immediately and now I volunteer 2 days a week and have not looked back.
"Most importantly, I believe charity shops have such a vital role to play in their communities. We give all our customers a big welcome and smile and we’re always having a natter with them while helping them find something to suit them.

"Sometimes, we can be the only people our customers speak to that day. We really are listening ears in our community and you cannot beat the feeling you get when you’ve made someone smile, knowing you’ve made their day. Greeting people and making them welcome is something that comes naturally to me and it makes me feel good too.

"I would highly recommend volunteering in Scope in Gillingham, it’s a wonderful place to work. It gets me out of the house, I have the chance to chat to our wonderful community and I’m putting my experience and skills to the very best of use. I’m doing something that I thoroughly enjoy, knowing that I’m helping to raise funds that run Scope’s vital support services for disabled people and their families.”

Jekaterina Starovoitova – Scope Cambridge

Jekaterina Starovoitova, 34, from Cambridge, has always enjoyed volunteering, supporting a number of local charities while having a full-time job. After the first lockdown in 2020, she decided to volunteer in a role she’d never tried before and applied to her local Scope charity shop last June. After 7 months, she applied for the full-time, paid role of Assistant Shop Manager and has been in that position since December.

Jekaterina found out first-hand that employers think Volunteering on a CV is highly impressive. When interviewed for the assistant shop manager vacancy it was a deciding factor, along with her proven dedication, hard work and popularity with the customers.

Volunteer Jekaterina Starovoitova in a charity shop holding a purple Scope balloon

She said: “Volunteering has so many benefits and people will feel good knowing they’re supporting disabled people and their families. One of the many great things about volunteering is, it’s flexible and can fit in around people’s lifestyle and studies, if they’re at college. If someone has retired or is between jobs, this is a great way to get out of the house, make new friends, be amongst a supportive team and learn new skills. 

“I have always enjoyed volunteering, I find it very meaningful and rewarding. When the first lockdown happened, I was missing social engagement with larger community, so when the high street reopened in June last year, decided to do a different volunteering role and decided to look for position in a local charity shop.

“I love the idea of charity shops and what they represent. They promote great community engagement and are at the forefront of sustainable shopping. I believe charity shops should be developed in far more countries.

“During my time of volunteering and working for Scope I have met a lot of lovely people, have seen a lot of kindness and support and, I’ve felt a part of a great community.

“When I found out there was a full-time position available in the Cambridge shop, I loved working in the shop so much, I immediately applied for the role. My manager, Maria Vicencio, knew that I was a hard and conscientious worker with a positive attitude, but I definitely think that volunteering here made all the difference to me being offered the job.

“If anyone is looking for a new job, I can highly recommend volunteering with Scope. I know first-hand that many employers are really impressed when they see volunteering on your CV, as it says so much about you.”

Lindsay Sumner – Scope Cheetham Hill

Ex-trainee nurse, Lindsay Sumner, 41, from Manchester has been volunteering at a Scope shop in Cheetham Hill since April. She not only gives her invaluable time to help in the shop, she’s also taking the plunge - 15,000 ft out of a plane - in a tandem parachute jump, to raise funds for the charity this August.

Lindsay said: “I am registered both mentally and physically disabled. I have a rare form of Crohn’s disease, which almost killed me in 2017 and in 2015, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2, severe anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. I have mostly accepted that the aspirations I had for my life can no longer happen.

“I had to kiss my nursing career goodbye. I also lost friends, was unable to work and my condition meant it affected my ability to be a good wife and mother. 

Volunteer Lindsay Sumner sorts through a rail of clothes in a Scope shop

“Doctors advised I would find employment hard to achieve and maintain, and they were mostly right. Every job I applied for I was overlooked, once the health questionnaire appeared. I've searched and applied and been rejected for work for the last 6 to 7 years. It was demoralising, I felt worthless and inconsequential. 

“In April this year, my life took a new and exciting turn. A close friend introduced me to Debbie Turner, the manager of the Cheetham Hill Scope charity shop. I told her how I would love to volunteer or work, but I thought there would be too many obstacles in my way.

“I was open and honest about my mental and physical health. Debbie listened and empathised and then did the most amazing thing, she offered me a volunteer position.

“I've been volunteering for a month or so now, my self-confidence is already growing, I feel for those 8 hours a week I have a purpose. I've been welcomed by everyone I have come into contact with and thoroughly enjoy just being there.”

Go to Lindsay’s JustGiving page to sponsor her tandem parachute jump for Scope.

If you are interested in volunteering for Scope, you can find more information on our volunteering page.

You can also contact the volunteering team by phone on 020 3855 0838 or by emailing volunteering@scope.org.uk

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