I started working at Emmaus Gloucestershire in the Nailsworth shops in June 2023 and my favourite part of the role is the Nailsworth community and the companions.

Managing a charity shop has always been my ideal dream job ever since I was a teenager. When I saw the role, reading about the ethos behind Emmaus was really inspiring and to have the people we’re helping in the shops with us was a big draw for me. To be part of their recovery is amazing.

A typical week as a shop manager

There is no typical week here, it’s absolutely chaos 24/7!

Mondays are usually one of our busiest days, especially with donations because people clear out over the weekend.

On Tuesdays, I have two work-experience students from Ruskin Mill College with me. One student helps with the till and we’re working on his cash-handling skills and the social skills he struggles with like making eye contact and general conversation. The other student helps us with the DVDs and loves it! I love them both to bits, they’re fab.

On Wednesdays, I try to get admin done, like social media content, updating windows and mannequins, and catching up on emails.

I’m off on Thursdays and Fridays are usually a bit crazy! I’d say Fridays and Saturdays are our really busy days. All the locals come in and I usually have items set aside for them to pick up at the weekend. So always busy!

The Nailsworth community

When I started the job, I was living in Bristol at the time, and we were buying a house around the corner from Nailsworth. The community in Nailsworth has become one of my favourite things about the job, it’s absolutely amazing and I have never experienced anything like it. I say good morning to people in the street and people bring freshly baked sausage rolls to the shop from their kitchen. I feel very accepted and taken care of by the Nailsworth community, and I think the companions feel the same. I think it’s really good for their wellbeing to be in such a lovely welcoming and warm environment.

Before moving here, I was worried that I might get isolated, especially if I had to work from home. To have this role and such a social work life is so good and it’s definitely helped my mental health and wellbeing as well. I’m a full Cotswold person now!

Supporting companions and volunteers

I love that this job isn’t a standard shop manager role, it’s about support as well. For me, that’s another favourite part. In my previous retail roles, it was very money, money, money. I had to have meetings with people if they weren’t making their targets and I’d constantly be on their backs to make sure they’re doing what they should be. Whereas here, it’s more about supporting the companions, and I much prefer that. The role is much more aligned with how I want to work and knowing that I’m working hard for companions makes such a big difference for me.

The volunteers are absolutely amazing too, I don’t know how they do it. One day we had floor-to-ceiling clothes and two of them got through it in about three hours! I have no idea how. They’re absolute superheroes. The shop wouldn’t run without them and I’m so grateful. I hope they know how much I and Emmaus appreciate them.

A message to customers and donors

To customers and donors, thank you! You breathe life into the shop. It’s a really special shop and I think most of the people that come in say that too. One customer said to me the other day that they can always hear laughter every time they walk in. To me, that is really special, and our customers bring that too. It wouldn’t be what it is without people coming in for a chat or to see how we are. It’s so lovely and I’m really lucky.