As part of national Volunteers’ Week (3 to 9 June 2024), one of our lovely volunteers Jo Gregg shares her inspiring story…

After retiring early on medical grounds due to severe osteoarthritis, Jo discovered a lifeline, helping out at our homelessness charity Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland’s Emporium charity shop in Hinckley.

Reflecting on her decision to volunteer, Jo said, “Mornings can be tough because I need to take painkillers and wait a few hours before I can even get out of bed. I didn’t want to be stuck at home all day, so I started looking for some volunteer work. I needed a place that was accessible for my mobility scooter and offered flexible hours.”

Jo heard that the Emporium shop needed volunteers and got in touch. She now kindly helps us out most days, sorting items for sale in our popular Craft and Upcycling Corner, as well as working with stock for our Boutique department. “I go through all the clothes, shoes, and accessories that are donated, ensuring they are in good condition for sale,” she explained. “There’s always a sense of excitement when I open a new bag, wondering, “What surprises do we have today?”

“We’re really fortunate to receive generous donations, and I often come across some real gems.”

Jo says volunteering has brought significant benefits:

“Volunteering has been my lifeline. I can’t imagine sitting at home all day staring at the same four walls. It’s my reason to get up in the morning.

“We all get along so well that it feels like being part of a big family. I know I have a support network I can rely on. If I’m having a bad day, I can tell people and they listen and understand.”

We’re incredibly thankful for the dedication and hard work of all our volunteers. Jo’s story truly shows the impact that volunteering can have on someone’s life. The benefits go even further, as every volunteer helps us raise vital funds to support those who have faced homelessness. A huge thank you to Jo and everyone who generously gives their time to support us!

Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland provides a home, support, and work opportunities for people who have faced homelessness. Some stay for a while as they gain confidence and skills before they feel ready to move on to independent living; others require longer-term support. Find out more about our charity.

Our Emmaus Emporium, on Stockwell Head, is Hinckley’s largest charity shop. It specialises in furniture and homeware, with a large clothing area. It is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, with late opening until 7pm every Thursday.