PROSPECT Hospice is looking for enthusiastic and friendly people to join the teams of volunteers in its Swindon charity shops.

The shops help to raise vital funds which allow the hospice to support people at the end of their lives.

Volunteering in the shops provides an excellent opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills.

Su Starkey is head of volunteering, learning and inclusion at Prospect Hospice. She said the charity supports its volunteers with induction, training and regular contact with its volunteering team.

Su added: “Our volunteers are vital to the work of Prospect Hospice. We couldn’t do what we do without them. Because of our volunteers giving their time, our shops are able to open and raise vital income for the hospice to provide care for people in their community at the end of their lives.

“We have a wide range of people volunteering in our shops and they come to us for all sorts of reasons. Some want to learn new skills while others like the social side of volunteering. For some, it provides the opportunity to improve their English as a second language or provides a stepping stone on the way back into work after time off.

“Whatever the reason, our volunteers also bring a benefit to the hospice, over and above the work they carry out for us. Our volunteers are our greatest ambassadors, enabling us to engage directly with our community, telling them about our work and the part they’re playing in providing end of life care for those in their community.”

Student Angus Sharp, of Old Town, Swindon, started volunteering at the charity’s books and media shop in Commercial Road as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award.

He said: “I enjoy sorting, pricing and restocking the shelves. We get some wonderful books and records donated and I love putting them on the shelves, being picked up and taken away to their new home. It’s a great way to get some experience and I love serving and helping the customers.

“Knowing that I’ve helped the hospice and the patients that they’ll care for in this small way means a great deal and I think of those people I’ll be helping each time I restock the shelves with new treasures.”

Maureen Hayes, of Swindon town centre, volunteers in Prospect Hospice’s Regent Street shop.

She said: “Prospect Hospice cared for one of my friends, so this is my little way of saying thank you. I serve customers on the till and I love it. Interacting with people and telling them about the hospice is a joy and it’s great that people know where their money is going and how they’re helping local people.”

Denise Sidebottom, of Stratton, Swindon, has volunteered at a variety of Prospect Hospice shops for nine years, including West Swindon.

She said: “I help with a range of activities and there’s always something different to do. Volunteering with Prospect Hospice has enabled me to meet other people and I’ve made some great friends. I love all the shop activities and I really enjoy helping the customers and supporting the other volunteers.”

Volunteers can give as little as a few hours a week and a number of its shops are open seven days a week.

The minimum age for volunteering in the shops is 14 (parental consent required for under 16s).To find our more, ask in a shop, email or call 07884 261259.