Ivy started as a volunteer at the Wokingham Helen & Douglas House charity shop in September 2022. Within nine months she was appointed as a Relief Manager for the shop. In just over nine months, Ivy went on a remarkable journey where volunteering changed her life.
Since she was 15 years old, Ivy had often thought about volunteering, but she had never felt she had the confidence to find a role. She had a lot going on in her life and was living in a hostel for young people who have come out of care. Ivy’s support worker at the hostel suggested she should volunteer for Helen & Douglas House as a way of improving her confidence. This was when her journey with the charity shop began.
Ivy said: ‘When I came to the shop, the shop manager Ana was so lovely and she understood my mental health issues. Despite the fact I struggled with selective mutism, she took me on as a volunteer to help me gain confidence in myself. She was the sort of character I had lacked in my life who would nurture and support me.
I thought the shop was beautiful. It was so colourful with a creative atmosphere. The other volunteers were very warm and welcoming. They helped me gain confidence. The Helen & Douglas House shop felt like a safe space to start growing my confidence.
When I started volunteering I found it hard to speak to people. I started coming in one day a week, then for a few shifts a week. I struggled with my confidence before each shift but as my confidence grew I was soon chatting to customers and before long I was volunteering five days a week. I enjoyed the work and was passionate about raising money for the charity.’
In December, Ivy’s tenancy at the hostel ended, and she received support from Ana, the Shop Manager, and other Wokingham volunteers. They helped her furnish and move into her new flat. Ivy was overwhelmed with their kindness and generosity.
Ivy’s remarkable journey into the person she is today is down to her experience of volunteering at Helen & Douglas House. We are honoured to be a part of Ivy’s transformation. She has blossomed into a confident young woman and made friends who help her grow.
Ivy said: ‘Nine months on from starting to volunteer for Helen & Douglas House, I am a completely different person – it has changed my life. In the past I have been judged by people because I was in care and found it hard to connect with people but the manager and volunteers at Helen & Douglas House treated me as an individual, saw my potential and nurtured and developed me, which I am so grateful for. The acts of kindness I have been shown by staff and volunteers at the shop has been heart-warming.’
Ivy said: ‘Volunteering is really good for the soul. It never feels like working as the time flies by and the atmosphere is fun and supportive and it’s all for a really good cause. It is great that the money raised at this charity shop helps local children and supports local families.’
Become a Helen & Douglas House volunteer
Would you be able to spare a few hours a week to help support Helen & Douglas House and raise vital funds?
Become a Retail Volunteer
We have various opportunities available, from visual merchandising, sorter, sewing bee to customer service and till operator.