Meet...Ellie, long-term volunteer

“If you’re looking to attain your DofE award, have fun, meet people, or get experience in retail – I would recommend supporting a local Hospice shop. The managers are supportive and it’s a good environment to work in – especially as a first volunteering role. I’ve learnt a lot during my three years here.”

We caught up with Ellie from our Kings Langley shop, to learn about her volunteer role during Student Volunteering Week…

Currently studying Geography, Psychology and Economics, after she completes her A Levels, Ellie is keen to pursue a Business Management Course at university, potentially studying abroad, as she has dual citizenship in the UK and France.

“I hadn’t heard of the Hospice before I joined the Kings Langley Shop team, but my friend and I attended a talk given by Sir Robert Voss, (the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and a Patron of several Hospices) where he discussed the work of The Hospice of St Francis and the free care they provide to local people.

Living local, and after this particular event, I saw an advert in the window at the Hospice shop – on the lookout for more volunteers.

I was keen to apply, as I knew it would be a great opportunity to attain my Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award and look great on my CV. Therefore, I started volunteering shortly after I turned 15 and just beginning my GCSEs in Year 10.

I completed my Bronze, Silver and finally Gold (DofE) Award but wanted to carry on my role at the shop following that. Over time, I have continued to give my spare time every week and my role has developed.

I help Sharon, the Manager, and the team every Monday after school; steaming donated clothes, organising the rails – and checking for empty spaces, working the till, interacting with customers and sorting donated items for the Hospice eBay. I separate selected products into a tray, research their pricing and set these aside for transportation to the Online Hub to be sold online.

A few weeks ago, there was a stunning jug set that is now on the Hospice eBay - selling for a HUGE £600! Just unbelievable! I cannot believe it was in my hands. It is lovely to know the profits from this will go straight to the Hospice and support the work they do.

My favourite thing about volunteering is meeting new people; in particular, seeing what interests them when they visit the shop. We have a mix of ages visit our shop and many regular customers who recognise me and engage in conversation, which is a perk of the role.

I believe that my strengths lie within being outgoing and approachable. I enjoy being front of house and helping a customer have the best shopping experience possible.”

In her spare time, Ellie plays and coaches tennis to the younger members at her club, which she describes as ‘super rewarding’. She also enjoys walking her sister’s dogs and regularly working out.

Shop Manager, Sharon, shares her thanks, “Ellie is an absolute joy to have in our shop. She works hard, is engaging with customers and staff – and really is part of the team.

She will do whatever tasks asked of her and always does it with a smile on her face (even under a mask!). Ellie has been with us quite some time and has actually recommended her brother to us who also now volunteers on a Sunday”.

Thank you for your continued support Ellie – we really appreciate it!