I’ve been volunteering for Emmaus Greenwich for over three years. My sister-in-law lives in Poplar and one day I was visiting her with my husband and family, and I saw a sign in the window of Emmaus Greenwich which said they need volunteers. So I thought OK, maybe I should just apply and see if I get it. I went in and got a form, took it home with me to fill out and then returned it to the shop. The next day she called me in for an interview and they asked me if I could start the next week.
I do quite a lot of different things in the shop. I work mainly on the till, taking money from customers, and when we sell furniture I fill out all the paperwork. In Poplar the majority of the customers speak another language, and when they come in some of them can’t speak English very well. So because I speak Bengali I can explain it to them, which is really helpful. There’s a big Asian population in Poplar, and especially lots of the older generation can’t speak English properly, so it’s really helpful for me to translate for them, and for my colleagues as well. I like to help as much as I can.
I volunteer two or three days a week. I’m the sort of person that loves talking to people, getting to know people and some customers like to chat about their lives and their experiences, especially the older ones, and I really enjoy those conversations. Also, because I have a family it’s great. Toys and books for example are really expensive from most shops, so I just get everything from Emmaus which is really useful for me. I never used to buy anything from charity shops, up until three years ago I’d never been to a charity shop before, or bought anything from a charity shop, but now I buy nearly everything from here. It’s like, my life has changed completely! I wish I knew before, because there’s so much great stuff that you can get cheap. I hardly go in any other shops now.
I really like working at Emmaus Greenwich, my colleagues especially are great, and also I really like the working hours. The shop opens at 10am and closes at 4:30 which is ideal for me because I have young children.