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St Oswald's Sunderland Assistant Shop Manager urges more people to volunteer

Alasdair Park started volunteering in St Oswald’s Hospice shops four years ago as part of a six-month work placement scheme via his local job centre, and after being hired as an Assistant Manager at St Oswald’s Sunderland shop, he has never looked back.

Despite having been unemployed for more than 15 years due to personal circumstances, Alasdair was offered the opportunity to undertake a volunteering placement with St Oswald’s in 2014.

Alasdair said:

When I was younger I lived and worked all over the UK and had done all sorts of jobs from bar manager, to saw miller, to commercial cleaner. Having been out of work for such a long time, my confidence had taken a big knock. It was at this point that I was offered the chance to do the work placement and the support and training I received was phenomenal.

As part of his volunteering, Alasdair was offered the chance to complete various qualifications including a retail apprenticeship where he learnt invaluable skills such as team management, customer service, visual merchandising and stock management.   

Alasdair added:

I never imagined when I began volunteering that St Oswald’s would have unlocked so many doors for me and being given the chance to complete two qualifications as part of my volunteering equipped me with the skills and knowledge to help me find my way back into employment. Being encouraged to apply for an Assistant Shop Manager vacancy was such an achievement and the encouragement I received along the way was brilliant.

St Oswald’s is running a special Retail Volunteer Recruitment Week (11th-16th June 2018) to celebrate our existing volunteers and to promote upcoming volunteering opportunities. Based on his own experience, Alasdair is now advising others to volunteer with St Oswald’s. 

Alasdair said:

I highly recommend volunteering at St Oswald’s. Whether you’re young and in need of some experience, if you need some help in getting back into work, or if you just want something to help fill your days then St Oswald’s shops are the perfect place to volunteer.

Alasdair continued:

My life has changed for the better. I genuinely look forward to going to work each morning and working with a fantastic team of staff and volunteers. It’s an incredible working environment with a hugely positive atmosphere with super helpful and supportive colleagues. When you’ve been unemployed for such a long time, it can often feel like you’ve been written off and forgotten. Volunteering at St Oswald’s gave me a second chance and I’ll be forever grateful. 

Charlotte Charlton, Retail Area Manager, said:

We couldn’t be any prouder of Alasdair and the huge progress he has made. Alasdair has been an incredible asset to St Oswald’s and has made huge strides in his personal and professional development throughout his time with us. There are so many benefits to volunteering from developing your skills and enhancing your CV, to making friends and helping to support a local charity, and we have a variety of roles open to suit all ages, abilities and lifestyles. Volunteers make an immense contribution to St Oswald’s. Without the hard work and enthusiasm of our volunteering team, we wouldn’t be able to raise enough money to continue to provide the high quality care we do to families from across the North East region.

To learn more about St Oswald’s current volunteering opportunities, please click here.