PDSA charity shop volunteer

Niloufar Safari is a 20 year old student living in Eastbourne and studying Law at Oxford Brookes University.

Nilofar Safari photo“This summer I decided to do something useful with my spare time by volunteering at my local PDSA charity shop. I chose this particular charity shop as I believed in its cause and I like animals. Prior to this, I had no work experience in any field as I am usually preoccupied with studying so I thought this opportunity would not only boost my CV, but also develop and build important skills that would help with future careers as grades are not the only thing employers look for.

I am quite a shy person, so the prospect of meeting new people in a new environment was initially daunting, but I managed to overcome this barrier as both the team at PDSA and the customers were very friendly. I soon became comfortable and enjoyed working on the shop floor and talking to customers which considerably helped with my confidence.

Though my experience with volunteering was short in duration, I have learned a lot. My role in the shop varied from organising the clothes, pricing items and managing the till on my own. Managing the till was particularly useful as I have become better prepared for handling stressful situations; the shop would get quite busy with many customers forming a queue meaning that time management and organisation were important in ensuring everything ran smoothly. My favourite task, however, was pricing donated items, based on its condition and brand. Sorting through the different clothes and occasionally coming across designer labels was quite fun!

Further, for a person who had an empty CV, volunteering was an essential foundation in introducing me to the working world. It is quite hard to find a paid job without the necessary ‘experience’ so volunteering gave me this opportunity. Thus, working at PDSA was incredibly valuable and I would consider volunteering again in future holidays! There are so many great charities out there who need people to spare a couple of hours of their day and being able to help is rewarding.”

Wendy Modestou, PDSA Eastbourne shop manager, says:

 “Niloufar was a brilliant addition to our team! She is very bright and picked things up very quickly. She volunteered in almost every role in the shop, including stock replenishment, product sorting, pricing and customer service, including cash handling at the till. She had an especially keen eye for spotting quality items amongst our donations! Niloufar worked very well with other volunteers and staff members. Her reliability and ability to take responsibility for customer service downstairs was of huge benefit to us as it freed management up to carry out other tasks elsewhere.  It would be great to have ten Niloufars and we would love to have her back!”

The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals)  is the UK’s largest veterinary charity, providing 2.7 million veterinary treatments – including 440,000 preventative treatments –  to pets every year through its 51 Pet Hospitals and 380 plus Pet Practices.  As part of its fundraising activities the PDSA runs over 150 charity shops countrywide. To find out more visit www.pdsa.org.uk