“Being out of work really knocked my confidence, but volunteering in a Forget Me Not shop made all the difference. Now I’m running the place!” Sam, our Hebden Bridge shop manager, tells us how volunteering transformed her life.
Back in 2013, Sam was unemployed, depressed and struggling to find work. “I’d applied for lots of jobs but I wasn’t getting anywhere. And being stuck at home all the time with nothing to do was having a real impact on my confidence.”
The JobCentre suggested Sam do some volunteering and gave her a list of possible charities to approach. “I chose Forget Me Not because I’d heard the name and it was a local charity.” She started volunteering at our Huddersfield shop for one afternoon a week. “And I really enjoyed it - I discovered the job I wanted to do! I took on more hours and after a while was offered a Level 2 volunteer position which meant more responsibility, like looking after the shop if the manager was away or off sick. I jumped at the chance!” After a year of volunteering, an assistant shop manager’s post became vacant in Hebden Bridge. “Everyone encouraged me to go for it – so I did! And I got the job! I was thrilled.”
Two years later, the shop manager left for health reasons. “All the other Forget Me Not shop managers were ringing me telling me to apply! I wasn’t sure at first – was I ready for the responsibility? But I applied anyway and I’ve never looked back!”
She says, “I love my job. I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t travel for two hours on the bus to get here if I didn’t! But if it wasn’t for volunteering, there’s no way I’d have had the confidence to do it. When I started volunteering I was a nervous wreck, I didn’t want to go out on the shopfloor. But with encouragement from my manager, I did and over the next few months, my confidence started to build. I went from feeling anxious every time I was due in the shop to not being able to wait to get back there!”
And we’re really pleased Sam feels that way! Area manager, Andrea (Sam’s boss) comments, “We’re so lucky to have Sam on our team - her passion and dedication is completely inspiring. Thank goodness she found her way to us through volunteering! And she’s not the only shop manager at Forget Me Not to have started out as a volunteer. It’s a great way to get experience, build up your skills and take the next step in your career.”
Sam agrees. “I think volunteering is an incredibly fun and rewarding thing to do – especially at a Forget Me Not shop! It’s a happy place, we’re a really friendly bunch and there’s always a cup of tea and a biscuit waiting for you! And it means such a lot to me that we’re doing things for people that really need our help – that’s the most rewarding part: knowing that what I do really is making a difference to children and their families.”
For all our current volunteering opportunities, please click here