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Lynne lost her mum and the life she knew, but found renewed confidence and joy through volunteering in a charity shop

Lynne moved to Penrith from Preston with her husband about two years ago. She volunteers in the Salvation Army shop on Queen Street, always giving one day a week, sometimes more if her manager, Donna finds herself a little short-staffed.

Lynne and her husband made the big move to Penrith after he was offered a job there. With her children having flown the family nest, Lynne had been spending a lot of her time caring for her mum who was very ill. Lynne’s mum sadly passed away and it was not long after that she found herself moving away from family and friends she’d known all her life, to house-hunting in Penrith.

After a while, Lynne realised that she needed a boost – the loss of her mum and the move had changed her life dramatically. She didn’t know anyone in Penrith and had started to yearn for something to keep her busy. In exploring the area, the first shop Lynne visited was our Salvation Army charity shop. It made an impression on Lynne – the staff were friendly, it was clean and tidy, and the stock was high quality. She decided to apply to volunteer and was welcomed with open arms.

Having worked in retail before, Lynne soon found she had a natural flare for window dressing and jewellery displays. She loves interacting with customers so she also helps on the tills and deals with their queries.

Lynne says: “I had been out of work for quite a while and I don’t think people realise how much that affects your confidence levels. I was feeling very low until I started volunteering. Now I’ve got my self-esteem back. I’ve got confidence in myself and my ability. I’ve also made lots of friends and really feel part of the community.

“I absolutely love volunteering in the shop and would encourage anyone to do it if they have some spare time. I always have a good laugh during my shifts and I feel like I’ve got my life back. Not only that, I feel really proud, I think volunteering earns you quite a bit of respect, so I only hope I can inspire people to give it a go too. And I mustn’t forget to mention the great things you can find in a charity shop – I spend a fortune in here!”

Volunteering has given Lynne the confidence she needed to look for a paid position in Penrith. Although, while Lynne looks for a part-time job, she says she won’t be giving up her voluntary work any time soon!