I started volunteering in the Emmaus South Wales shop in Cowbridge to help me to complete the volunteering section of my Duke of Edinburgh Gold qualification. I’ve previously volunteered at my local athletics club for my silver qualification, so I wanted to try something a bit different. I looked at other charity shops in Cowbridge, but I felt I wouldn’t be able to get stuck into a range of roles. That’s when I decided on Emmaus South Wales.

I didn’t know much about the charity when I decided to volunteer in the shop. I just thought that the shop had a lovely atmosphere and I liked the way they displayed the items. That’s what drew me in initially.

To gain the Duke of Edinburgh qualification not only do you have to learn new skills and do residential and physical activities, but you also have to participate in voluntary work. I wanted to complete my volunteering in a retail/ shop environment as I thought it would help me prepare for the world of work.

I currently volunteer for two hours a week on a Saturday, to fit around my education and revision. I’m in year 11 in Cowbridge Comprehensive School completing my GCSE exams, they’re going well so far! I plan on staying on for Sixth Form to do my A Levels and hopefully go to university to study Science or Maths. I’m going to apply for Cambridge too!

When I’m in the shop I carry out a range of roles depending on what the Shop Manager’s need me to do. I sort through the CD’s and look out for pirate copies that can’t be sold. I also neaten the book section back into alphabetical order and help customers bring in any donations. I’ve been on the till a few times too. There’s so many buttons on there, but I’m getting better at it now.

Volunteering in the Cowbridge Emmaus South Wales shop has enabled me to be more confident and has also improved my organisation and personal presentation skills. I really enjoy volunteering in the shop because companions, staff, customers and other volunteers are so friendly. It’s definitely the best place I’ve volunteered.