Wednesday 2 May 2018

25th anniversary for Emmaus Gloucestershire volunteers

Beth   website

Two women who founded homelessness charity Emmaus Gloucestershire, are set to celebrate 25 years of volunteering for the charity. Rosemary Davis and Beth Boxall, who are both now in their 70s, undertake several roles in the shop, from sorting clothes and assisting customers, to window dressing and managing other volunteers.

Located at the branch in Nailsworth where it all started, there are now five Emmaus shops selling second-hand furniture, clothing, books, vinyl records and white goods, alongside an Ebay business. As a result of their popularity additional volunteers are now needed to join the team, leading up to the busy summer months and beyond.

There are a number of volunteer roles on offer, including:

  • Van driving - collecting and delivering large items
  • Administration – assisting with telephone bookings
  • EBay online sales – uploading items, drafting descriptions and posting to customers
  • Warehouse support – picking and sorting donations for sale in the shops
  • Retail – assisting customers, merchandising items in shops and taking payments

Ideally, volunteers would be able to offer up to a minimum of 4 hours per shift, and for those with more time, a maximum of 2 days in total per week. Enthusiasm, a sense of humour and a willingness to work as part of a friendly team alongside companions (former homeless people) is key. Those with a specialist knowledge of books, vinyl records, antiques and jewellery would also be an asset to the shops. 

Judith Wheeler, Nailsworth Shop Manager said: “Our current volunteers are compassionate individuals who want to help in their local community. In addition, they love working in a team and with the public. We have a mix of men and women who work in our shop, some have specialist skills, for example one of our volunteers advises our customers about books and another has a textiles background – she recently spotted some antique lace, which was auctioned for £120”

Co-Founder and volunteer Beth added:

My key reason for volunteering and establishing the Emmaus Gloucestershire community was to give something back, while also trying to combat the growing issue of homelessness. The time has passed so quickly, however the problem continues to blight the lives of so many people. As a longstanding volunteer I have learned so much from everyone I have encountered, it continues to be a positive experience for me and my counterparts.”

Joe Feeley, Emmaus Gloucestershire Chief Executive commented: “We’re keen to hear from individuals of all ages, young and older who would like to help us. We’re a friendly team, and will offer all the training required. We’ve found that the experience benefits volunteers as well as companions as they learn from each other while developing their skills and the business.”

To apply to be a volunteer or to find out more, visit the Emmaus Gloucestershire website here.

Listen to Beth, Rosemary and Joe talking about volunteering at Emmaus on the BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Dominic Cotter show here. (until 11 June)

Emmaus Gloucestershire provides work for 32 companions, who each have their own room and shared facilities. The five shops are situated in Cheltenham, Stroud, Nailsworth and Gloucester and contribute to the financial stability of the community. Emmaus Gloucestershire also works alongside partners across the county to alleviate the causes of homelessness. 

Image: Beth Boxall