So this week I am talking about my time volunteering for Barnardos. I lived by and shopped in the Stockbridge, Edinburgh one for ages, and then saw that they wanted a Visual Merchandiser, and wanting to be a Visual Merchandiser myself, I went in and applied to volunteer! 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 sometimes. So volunteering even just for a 4 hour shift per week was a huge step for me and in the end, it really helped.
So on my first day, I got to grips with the store and how Barnardos worked. I learned about the company and its values, and got shown how to take and organise donations.
The team were made up of a manager, a full time staffer, and volunteers, and was a very close knit team. There were people from all walks of life volunteering and it was really fun going to volunteer each week!
I quickly came to love my job at Barnardos. We had a vintage section that became my passion, and I loved using props to showcase our fabulous vintage donations and watching people get excited about finding a treasure from the racks.
I also did the windows for summertime and helped come up with themes for it, and refreshing all the trinket shelves.
I also started to help price the vintage items, which was amazing seeing first the goodies being donated. I remember an Alexander McQueen bolero being donated, which was amazing. I also managed to pick myself up some army boots that the names of the 4 previous girls that had owned them – naturally I added mine to that illustrious list.
We had a Christmas night out as a team and I really can remember it being the funnest Christmas night out I’d ever had. We all sat at a long table and got presents and really had a great time. Christmas in the shop was great as well, decorating the windows and seeing all the great Christmas cards and wrap that Barnardos bring out every year and that I still purchase every year!
When I left I got given a beautiful vintage top and a record that I had wanted for ages. I was sad to leave, but by the time I had left, I was more confident in myself and had made so many great friends. Moving back to Edinburgh, I went in and felt that I really missed it. I really would like to go back to volunteering, so once I am out of full time, I would definitely go back, and recommend it to everybody!
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PPS Be my buddy and tell me your vintage finds!