A ROYAL Wootton Bassett woman has found the confidence to return to work after volunteering with Swindon charity Restore.

Annalee Reed has been unemployed for 11 months after leaving her job as a care assistant in September last year.

The 39-year-old has worked with Restore for four weeks, learning to work a till, deal with customers and sort stock and the experience has enabled her to look for work beyond her previous experience.

She said: “The Restore team are absolutely brilliant, they just give you hope.

“Working for them was a dream, they were passionate and made you feel a part of the whole team. If you want to volunteer and you have an opportunity to be placed there go for it.

“I came to Restore from Pinnacle People who find work placements for long-term unemployed people and I was just lucky enough to be put with them.

“They gave me the opportunity to do something constructive. They gave me a lot of support and encouragement and helped me get my confidence back.

“Within no time they gave me the know-how to get back into the workplace and learn new skills.”

Restore, run entirely by volunteers, was opened in June 2011 by Swindon Christian Community Projects (SCCP) which also runs the Swindon Foodbank.

As well as selling second-hand furniture, crockery and toys, the project also carries out electrical testing, creates bird boxes and repairs furniture in its workshop. The group grows a variety of vegetables and plants in its garden.

“As Restore is a charity shop it’s given me a chance to work in a shop environment and in customer services,” Annalee said.

“And I’ve learned about using a till, which means I can look for work in a shop. I’m still looking for a job but the market is so bad. Volunteering at Restore just gives me something else I can look into.

“They are really flexible as well, if I needed to go to the Job Centre or anything they worked around me. I feel like I felt wanted there.”

The project also runs a cafe where visitors can relax in what was the St John’s Church hall, in Whitbourne Avenue, and enjoy cakes from Kat’s Candy, a small social enterprise.

One of the main aims of Swindon Restore is to welcome supported volunteers and provide work-related opportunities for those with mental, social or physical needs, the long-term unemployed, college leavers or parents wanting to return to work.

The shop is open every weekday from 10am to 4pm. For details or to volunteer contact Alex on 01793 978045 or email – info@swindonrestore.co.uk.