Charity shop volunteers benefit from funded training
By sophia1980 | Friday, November 02, 2012, 14:13
Volunteers at a Bristol charity shop have given their customer service skills a boost with fully funded apprenticeships from a national training provider.
Holly & Alistair
Holly Drew, 31, and Alistair Johnstone, 44, who are volunteers at the St Peter's Hospice charity shop on Westbury Hill, have just completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Customer Service with help from training specialist Positive Outcomes.
The training has helped the pair grow in confidence and take on new responsibilities at the Westbury-on-Trym shop.
Alistair Johnstone joined St Peter's Hospice six years ago as a volunteer following a period of unemployment.
Alistair, from Westbury-on-Trym, has just completed his apprenticeship and now combines working Saturdays at the shop with volunteering during the week.
He said: "It is very satisfying to have completed the work and to have a certificate to say I've done it, I really enjoyed completing the apprenticeship.
"I now have that extra confidence behind me when I am serving customers, which I think is the main difference the training has made, so taking the course has been very useful.
"I'm pleased with the support I have been given and my Training Adviser has been very helpful throughout, ensuring I kept on track and knew what was expected of me; it was nice to have so much encouragement."
Holly has been volunteering at St Peter's Hospice for seven years, after gaining experience in a similar role for another charity. She now spends four days a week at the shop.
Holly, who has Cloverleaf Syndrome and is deaf, said: "I have learnt how to do lots of different things at the shop, like using the till, steaming, hanging clothes and pricing. I really enjoy working on the till and serving the customers.
"I've found the experience of learning with Positive Outcomes to be very interesting. I enjoy learning new things and it has given me much more confidence, as I used to feel nervous when I first started volunteering."
As a result of her enthusiasm and hard work, Holly was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Awards by the Charity Retail Association.
St Peter's Hospice is Bristol's only adult hospice. Services are provided free of charge, but the NHS contribute just 23% of the £6.5 million needed to run the hospice yearly, meaning support from the public is essential.
Last year the hospice cared for 2,675 patients and supported over 6,000 family members including children.
Shop Manager Karen Pickett said: "I'm very happy with the training Holly and Alistair have received and I have noticed that both are much more confident when dealing with customers.
"Our shops are a vital part of keeping our charity alive and so are our volunteers. It has been extremely positive for St Peter's Hospice and I would definitely recommend it to other employers."
To find out more about volunteering at on of the 47 St Peter's Hospice shops in Bristol visit www.stpetershospice.org
To find out more about apprenticeships from Positive Outcomes, go to www.positiveoutcomes.org.uk or call 08456435566 for more information.