Yorkshire Cancer Research thrives with the help of its many high street shop volunteers. From working the tills, to organising stock in the backroom, volunteers help ensure that our shops are the best they can be.
Every person plays a vital role in raising funds to help prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer in Yorkshire. We couldn’t run our shops without volunteers, we think they’re wonderful and we’ve interviewed a few of them so you can get to know them yourself.
“Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was during the first lockdown, so it was very difficult to get the treatment I needed. I was just amazed by how fast everything was dealt with for me. It made me realise that it would be nice to be able to give back by volunteering.”
Annette, who lives in Starbeck, says that volunteering at the Knaresborough shop and interacting with customers and fellow volunteers has helped with her cancer treatment and recovery.
She thrives on customer interaction and enjoys the environment of working in a shop.
“I’ve felt very safe volunteering during the pandemic,” she explained. “We all ‘social distance’, we all wear our masks and we’re behind the screen if we’re working on the till. We only allow seven customers in the shop at any one time, which means people can spread out and we’re safe too.”
She particularly wanted to volunteer for a charity with a regional focus.
She says: “My children were all born in Yorkshire, and because the treatment I got was so amazing, I felt that it would be nice to raise the funds that we need for Yorkshire Cancer Research to carry on doing what it does best.”
Joan started volunteering for Yorkshire Cancer Research after retiring from her job in a veterinary surgery.
“I just wanted something to do. I thought coming to the Knaresborough shop and helping out would be beneficial to me.”
Joan helps by pricing up items, as well as steaming clothes ready for displays and working behind the till.
“After being in lockdown so long, it’s been great to get back out and meet people. That’s what I enjoy most about volunteering,” she says.
Joan’s sister, Susan, also volunteers at the Knaresborough shop.
She says: “I volunteer with my sister, Joan, which is brilliant. We come as a team. We’re very close and we travel quite a way, so it made sense to volunteer at the same time.”
Susan started volunteering over a year ago, after retiring from her role at Leeds Beckett University.
She says it was important for her to support Yorkshire Cancer Research, and she travels from Leeds to volunteer at the shop.
“You feel as if you’re giving something back and also, you’re getting something out of it as well.”
Retired teacher Sara, who lives in Knaresborough, began volunteering to give something back to her community.
“I’m only just finding my feet,” she says. “’I’ve bought lots of things at charity shops, but I’ve never known how it works behind the scenes.”
Despite having volunteered for less than a month, Sara has already tried her hand at lots of different roles.
“I’ve not yet found a special niche, so sometimes I steam clothes and I put them on hangers. Today I’m sorting the books for selling. I’m enjoying getting a taste of everything.”
She continued: “I’ve lost lots of people to cancer, and I’ve lived in Yorkshire a long while. My husband, my son and my daughter-in-law all work in the medical field, so they’ve all seen cancer up close. Anything that will help research and save lives, and any research that will encourage people to reduce their risk of cancer, is worth supporting.”
Sue first began volunteering after her partner was diagnosed with cancer.
She says: “We spent a lot of time at the hospital in Leeds and became aware of Yorkshire Cancer Research.
“Unfortunately, my partner did pass away, but I just felt that I wanted to continue and fill my time. I felt this was a good place and that I would be helping other people.”
Sue says that volunteering with the charity has helped her cope with losing her partner, and that she enjoys spending time with the other volunteers at the shop.
“All the treatment my partner had and the people we met over the 18-month period following his diagnosis were wonderful. I feel that I’m now doing something positive.”