What Our Volunteers Say

Lauren's story

How long have you been volunteering for Rennie Grove?

I started volunteering at the Iain Rennie shop in Flackwell Heath just over a year ago, which spurred me on to apply to for work experience when the time came. Schools send out students to spend time working in their communities, to get a taste of life after education and help build up their CVs.

Why did you decide to volunteer?

I volunteered with Rennie Grove because I was completing my Bronze level Duke of Edinburgh Award. Participants must complete a period of voluntary service to fulfil the Award’s requirements. I chose to help at my local Iain Rennie shop in Flackwell Heath because my grandma already volunteered there. It was her suggestion and it snowballed from there.

Voluntary work for Iain Rennie has now qualified me for other awards. I am able to put my time spent with the charity towards V50 and Vimpact certificates as part of the Vinspired scheme, which recognises the work of people who spend 50 and 150 hours volunteering. It shows employers, colleges and universities what you can achieve as a volunteer, and has the backing of Dragon’s Den star James Caan.

What does your volunteering role involve?

Working in the Iain Rennie shop involves a variety of customer service focused tasks. I help take in and sort out stock donations, as well as collecting money and doing till work too. The Flackwell Heath shop would often take in 20 to 30 bags of items a day, although the record since I’ve been there was 84! These need sorting, pricing and shelving. I later helped marshall at the charity's Christmas fun run too.

I then spent a week doing work experience with Rennie Grove, working for three days in the Retail department helping with eBay and Christmas card sales, and for two days with Fundraising. This involved visiting local schools to help explain the Rennie Grove service to children, helping with the charity’s Butterfly Fingers initiative and leafleting for the Christmas fun run. I dressed up as Rennie Bear which was brilliant!

I’m now completing a customer profiling of the types of people who shop at Iain Rennie, as part of a school project which will count towards my final grades. The ultimate aim is to get more young people to shop at Rennie Grove making it more appealing. I’m being the Rennie Grove version of ‘Mary, Queen of Shops’! Traditionally younger people prefer brand-name high street stores and stay away from charity outlets.

What do you enjoy most?

There is a great atmosphere in the shop. It’s really friendly and I’ve got to know a lot of people. It’s good to know we’re all doing something good, and to see what the money raised will help provide, as well as what that means to the patients, carers and families that the Iain Rennie and Grove House nurses help. I feel much more involved in my local community too, and know much more about what’s going on. I’d love to work for Rennie Grove properly in their fundraising department when I’m older.