Lucie lives in Heathfield and volunteers with Age UK charity shop in her town.

Lucie spoke about her experience to Andrew Walker from Heathfield and District Volunteer Centre.

Why did you want to volunteer?

I suffered from anxiety and depression, hence I struggled with regular employment and had to give it up.  I wanted to volunteer to ease back into employment without the pressure of a full time job and the regular commitment.

 I saw an advert in the window of a charity shop and just went in.

They gave me an application form to fill in and said they needed some general help in the shop – everything from working the till, sorting stock and ensuring the Gift Aid forms are filled in.  I started with 2 days a week, but enjoyed it so much that I am now doing 3 ½ days a week and fill in spare shifts if needed as well! “

Lucie said she always enjoyed browsing in charity shops, so the environment appealed. The work in the shop is straightforward, but there are some things to learn. The staff are friendly, which makes it fun and easy for her.

 How do you feel you have played a part?

“I feel very much part of the team and feel good that my volunteering is helping others.  Any ideas and suggestions I have had have been listened to and most were put in place. “

What have you gained from volunteering?

“Firstly, I really enjoy the work and being part of a friendly team.  It has helped me restore my confidence and I hope that it will lead to a permanent paid job.  The fact that a lot of my ideas and suggestions have been taken on board has made me feel empowered.

 They treat me just like any other member of staff, so I feel I have my self-respect.”