"Volunteering is helping me learn new skills to get back into work"

Christopher Hunt, 34, from Dartmouth has been unemployed for an extended period of time after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. After receiving the all clear, Christopher was keen to get back into the work place.

Christopher explains, “My experience with cancer has made me think more seriously about my life.  It has completely changed my outlook and perspective. I have a completely different attitude on goals and what I want to do with my life. I knew I wanted to return to work but with no usable references or experience I struggled to find employment.

“I decided that volunteering would be a good way to get retail experience and a good excuse to get out of the house and do something. After popping into the Okehampton Hospiscare shop and chatting to Alison, the manager, I knew that was the place I wanted to volunteer because of the lovely, friendly atmosphere in the shop.

“I get to do a lot of work on the till, but I also help out in the work room sorting stock. There isn’t really such a thing as a typical day. You never know what you’re going to get in through the door; every day is different.  I really enjoy working on the till as I get to chat to a lot of people and get to know the regular customers.  It’s nice to feel part of a community.”

“Volunteering has helped me to gain a lot of confidence, learn up to date skills, get customer facing experience and when I do leave I’ll have a professional reference. I love volunteering for Hospiscare and I can’t imagine a better place to start my journey back into employment.”

Shop manager, Alison, commented “Chris is a wonderful volunteer. He’ll do whatever he can to help. Nothing is too much trouble.  It’s great that we can help him learn the skills he needs to get back into employment, although I don’t know what we’ll do when he leaves!”

Alison continues, “I’m really lucky to have such a great team of volunteers. But we are always in need of more help.”

If anyone is thinking about volunteering: “Just give it a go,” says Christopher.

“Come in and give it a try.  There are lots of different things you can do to help in the shop and you might be surprised by how much you enjoy it.  Alison and team are so friendly, it really is a lovely shop.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about shop volunteer opportunities at the Hospiscare Okehampton Shop, please call Alison on 01837 53889 or email volunteering@hospiscare.co.uk.

Hospiscare is a local adult hospice charity, providing free, high quality care and support to people with any type of terminal illness, and those close to them, in Exeter, Mid and East Devon, and North Dartmoor from Highampton to Lustleigh and from Lydford to the Teign Valley.  A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity in Devon for generations to come.