A local charity is inviting people to join its rapidly growing retail team, either in a voluntary or paid-for capacity, and make the most of the career opportunities available.
Rennie Grove Hospice Care has 24 charity shops and relies on a 53-strong workforce and more than 800 volunteers to keep its retail operation running smoothly. The charity is currently recruiting for a Retail Operations Assistant and a Shop Manager, and is always seeking volunteers to help out in its shops and with its efficient ebay operation, now based in Berkhamsted but selling to collectors all over the world.
Lisa Collinson from Edlesborough, now Area Manager for Rennie Grove’s retail team, explains: “I began my career with Rennie Grove as a volunteer in our Tring bookshop six years ago. I’d just moved to the area from Yorkshire and I knew nothing about the charity at that point. I just wanted to be involved with something in the local community and volunteering for a few hours every week was the perfect way to meet people.”
Lisa volunteered for more than a year, gradually learning more about the cause and feeling increasingly attached to the Rennie Grove ‘family’ and the wider community. “When a temporary post came up for a Relief Manager supporting staff and volunteers across all the shops as required, I decided to give it a go.”
Lisa, who has previously worked in managerial roles in customer services as well as being a park keeper and gardener, was successful in her application and spent three months covering managers’ holidays and sick leave across all the charity’s shops in Bucks and Herts. When that temporary contract ended, her experience helped her land first the manager’s role at Rennie Grove’s Warner’s End shop in Hemel Hempstead, followed by the two shops run by Rennie Grove in Princes Risborough.
“Fewer than three years after I’d started volunteering at the Tring bookshop, I was overseeing the charity’s Princes Risborough bookshop – and their main shop in the market square opposite!” recalls Lisa.
Rennie Grove prides itself on being able to offer career progression opportunities to its existing workforce as well as the wider community. “Many of our managers have followed a similar path to mine at Rennie Grove,” says Lisa. “We have a mix of home-grown managers and new blood, which I think is really healthy for the organisation. Some of our assistant managers and managers re-locate when jobs come up in order to achieve a better work-life balance; others move sideways because they want a new challenge, such as running a clearance shop or one with a larger footprint or different demographic.”
Lisa was promoted to District Manager for the Herts area two years ago and more recently took on the role – which involves recruitment, logistics, line management and being hands-on in the shops as needed – for the whole Rennie Grove catchment.
“I love the variety of this role and the fact it makes use of all the skills and experience I’ve gained, not just at Rennie Grove but in previous workplaces,” says Lisa.
Rennie Grove is currently recruiting for a Retail Operations Assistant based at its new Berkhamsted premises on Northbridge Road, as well seeking volunteers to join its friendly ebay team there. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01442 890222, visit www.renniegrove.org/jobs or renniegrove.org/volunteers for details.