I started volunteering at the Emmaus shop in Nailsworth in 2011, it’s been a long time and it’s just whizzed by!

Before volunteering, I was working in a little craft shop and semi-retired but felt like I was wasting my time. I noticed they wanted volunteers at Emmaus, and I’ve never looked back!

I love it here and honestly can’t say there’s a downside. I love the people, the companions, and the other volunteers. I feel like I’m making a difference because we meet the companions and get to know them quite well. When you hear of a companion who has gone out, got a job, a flat, a family, it’s just absolutely brilliant.

I volunteer twice a week usually helping with women’s clothing, but I also do accessories and sometimes the men’s clothing. I also do the buttons; I take them home, sort them, and put them on cards to look pretty.

Our donors are unbelievably generous, and we get some amazing donations. We get clothing that has all been dry cleaned before donating and designer wear on plenty of occasions. Mind you, it goes out as fast as it comes in! As soon as you’ve dressed a mannequin in the window, you’re undressing it again because somebody wants to try it on.

Emmaus is the most amazing place, volunteering here is almost like having a second family. For instance, I lost my brother-in-law recently and it’s been quite hard. I was feeling really rubbish, but when I came into the shop everyone talked me out of my misery. They’re so supportive, it’s lovely.

We have a fantastic shop manager as well, who understands that we’re not here all the time because of family things. A lot of us volunteers are quite – I don’t want to say elderly – but a little bit on the mature side, so of course we do have things that go wrong a bit more often than younger staff and volunteers.

To me, the best thing about volunteering at Emmaus is the social side of it, it’s hugely important. For a lot of people who might be on their own now, it makes a huge difference that they’ve got a whole group of people out there that they see. I volunteer two days a week, so I see people then, but we also do coffee mornings and things like as well. It’s a real treat.

If anyone was thinking about volunteering at Emmaus, I would say oh my god, just do it! It would be a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. There’s so much choice and no one is excluded from anything. It’s a win-win basically. I would also say that you’ll spend a lot of money here. As volunteers, we are constantly buying things non-stop!