Charity shop volunteer Tom Wyer is hoping to inspire other young people to follow his lead.
Tom, 23, says helping at the St Wilfrid’s Hospice shop in East Wittering has boosted his confidence and given him valuable experience.
He now wants to encourage other young people to volunteer, saying it can be beneficial in a number of ways.
“I am really passionate about the place. There is a brilliant group of volunteers, they are friendly and really nice,” said Tom.
“Volunteers between 18 and 25 are needed to bring in new ideas. They can have a spark that others don’t have.
“I think it is great for volunteers of my age for experience. It gives you experience in a retail environment and it helps with training. It has got me into the retail side in town.”
Tom has been at the shop, in Shore Road, for two-and-a-half years and helps by sorting donations, placing items in the shop, serving customers and creating window displays.
He volunteers at the shop most days and says every day is different.
It was his mum who first suggested he get involved as he lives nearby and he said the team was very welcoming.
“Mum suggested it for something to do,” Tom explained.
“In the shop, people don’t judge you and you can be yourself. Hopefully, that will attract people into the shop. People can be their own person.
“I am really passionate about trying to get young volunteers in. It would help them. It has built my confidence up, dealing with customers.
“Michelle, the manager, has always been open to ideas and wants people to have an input. It helps with individuality.”
Tom’s experience at the charity shop has helped him find paid work. He was at West Cornwall Pasty Co in Chichester for a year or so and then at another store in East Wittering but he had to leave when he fell ill.
Michelle Dagwell, manager at the hospice shop said: “Tom is a great support. He comes in to help out even when he is not due in. He is a real inspiration.
“We are always looking for volunteers but we are particularly looking for youngsters to bring in different aspects. We have three young volunteers and one of them runs the ebay side, for example.
“Some people like being in the shop, some like doing crafts. Upcycling is a big priority for us at the moment and we have a variety of projects, including making things from items donated. Vintage is also in at the moment.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can ask in the shop for an application form.
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