So this week I am talking about my time volunteering for Barnardo’s. I spent a lot of time shopping at the Stockbridge Barnardo’s store in Edinburgh. On one shopping trip I saw that they were looking for a Visual Merchandiser volunteer – something I have a huge interest in. Naturally I had to go in and sign up! I remember being very nervous for my first shift, as at the time I was in the midst of depression and found it hard to leave the house at times. Volunteering, even just for my four hour shift each week was a huge step for me and in the end it really helped.
On my first day I got to grips with the store and how Barnardo’s worked. I learned about the company and its values, and got shown how to accept and organise donations.
The team were made up of the manager, full-time sales associate and a team of volunteers. There were people from all walks of life and we made up a really close knit team. It was really fun going to volunteer each week!
I quickly came to love volunteering at Barnardo’s. We had a vintage section which became my passion. I loved being able to experiment with visual merchandising and using props to showcase our fabulous vintage donations. It was so rewarding watching people get excited about finding a treasure from the rails. I also dressed the windows for summertime after helping come up with themes for the displays.
I started to help price the vintage items, which was amazing as I got to see the goodies being donated. One of my favourite donations was an Alexander McQueen bolero. I also managed to pick myself up some army boots that had the names of the four previous girls that had owned them – naturally I added mine to that illustrious list!
When I left I was gifted a beautiful vintage top and a record that I had my eye on for ages. I was really sad to leave but I left feeling more confident in myself and had made so many great friends. I visit the store when I can and each visit I really miss my time volunteering at Barnardo’s. I am now working full time but plan to go back to volunteer when I can.