I volunteer at St Mary’s Hospice Warehouse which is located on Walney Road, Barrow-in-Furness. The Warehouse specializes in selling household furniture for charity. Items are donated to the warehouse. I started here in February of 2012 after being referred to BTCV by the Shaw Trust to work as part of the Clip Project.
The manager of the charity at Ulverston got in contact with me and we arranged to meet with the Warehouse manager. The following week we met at the warehouse and we had a chat about the way things work and what I would do as a volunteer. We then arranged my working hours and because the Warehouse manager lived over Walney like myself; he very kindly offered to give me a lift in his car. The managers made me feel very welcome and there was a family feel in the warehouse.
The following week, I began with an 8:30am start, with the warehouse opening to customers at 9:00am and closing at 4:00am. On my first day, I met with the other staff that works there and was made very welcome. I was then given sheet of information about health and safety and manual handling which I was to sign to acknowledge my understanding of how to work safely in the warehouse
I work Monday and Tuesday from 9 to 4. As a volunteer, my duties include helping with customer questions, lifting items of furniture, helping to put furniture together such as beds and wardrobes and also going out on van rounds either delivering or collecting items of furniture.
Because the warehouse is quite small, it can get cluttered with furniture quite easily. Another of my duties include helping to keep the warehouse tidy which most of the time involves sweeping up but there are times where I have to help shift items about to keep a clear walking path for customers. When helping to move furniture we had boxes full of books for sale.
The books were taking up some space so it was my idea to put the books onto the available wall units. We did this and by the time the units were full, this had reduced a considerable amount of space. This was rewarding because it allowed us to use the space more effectively.
While working at the Warehouse has its highlights there are also some lowlights. One of those lowlights is that because there are only a small number of volunteers, we are limited to what we can do during the day. This particularly affects van rounds as Thursday and Friday are really the only days where we have people who are fit enough to go on the van. The main point is that we have no choice but to reject collections and delay deliveries which not only puts a strain on the company but when there are days where hardly any customers come in, it can get quite boring and time passes slowly.
Overall however, I do enjoy working at the warehouse, sales have good days and bad days but we all work as a team. If you feel like you would like to work in this area, add new skills or even improve your confidence with the public, I would certainly recommend that you come over, say hello and pick up an application form. Working here is very rewarding as you know that the money made from sales goes to a good cause.