Posted on Tuesday 4 June 2019

in News

Volunteers’ Week: How volunteering and giving back gave Emma a new lease of life

A young woman from Portland who suffers from depression has opened up about how volunteering for CLIC Sargent turned her life around after it gave her confidence and friendship.

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Emma has loved her time volunteering in the Weymouth CLIC Sargent shop.

Emma, 32, from Portland, felt isolated and lonely at home when she was suffering from depression. After visiting the CLIC Sargent charity shop in Weymouth, she decided to volunteer for the local shop and give something back.

Volunteers’ Week, from June 1 to 7, celebrates the millions of volunteers like Emma across the UK who give their time for free to help others. Emma is now sharing her story in the hope to give others the same boost whilst helping great causes.

Emma said: “I have suffered from depression for a very long time and I was fed up by being by myself all the time, doing nothing. I wanted to give myself something to do.

“I lived close to the CLIC Sargent shop in Weymouth and I think it was just the first charity shop I walked past. Five years later, I’m still volunteering there today and loving it!”

CLIC Sargent supports local families from Dorset and across the UK, by providing social workers to support families, financial grants, and free accommodation near hospitals for families to stay close to loved ones.

“CLIC Sargent is an amazing charity, doing so much for children and young people with cancer.”

Emma volunteers whenever she can in the shop, doing a variety of roles. She was also ‘thrilled’ when she was picked by the charity recently to be a Morrisons support volunteer, helping local stores to raise vital funds for CLIC Sargent.

“I have a hand in almost all roles at the shop, but my favourite one is sorting donations – and I always enjoy meeting the customers. It’s the people and volunteers that make it what it is.

“I don’t have any family but now for the last two Christmases I have gone to Tracey, the CLIC Sargent shop manager’s house, on Christmas Day, which has been really nice. I’m like her surrogate daughter!”

I’ve gained so much confidence since I started volunteering; I have managed to get a paid job – something I would have struggled to do beforehand."

Since volunteering, Emma said she had the confidence to apply for a cleaning job at Haven where she’s worked for the past two years. She’s gone back to college too once a week to gain qualifications.

“Working at the Weymouth shop keeps my mind busy; it really helps with my moods. My depression makes me feel down but when I am at the shop, I am able to cope and chat with all the other volunteers.

“I’ve gained so much confidence since I started volunteering; I have managed to get a paid job – something I would have struggled to do beforehand.

“I think it took my mind off a lot of things. I’m now back at college too, studying my English and Maths GCSEs. I don’t have any qualifications as I didn’t do GCSEs at school, but Christians against Poverty helped me with my life and debts and they encouraged me to get some qualifications. It’s nice to explore other things and options.”

Lauren Smith, National Volunteer Manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “Together with Emma, volunteers have given over 58,000 hours to keep CLIC Sargent’s charity shops open. More than 950 volunteers helped us in the last year by giving talks to raise awareness, bucket collecting and fundraising.

“We are so grateful to Emma and want to thank each and every one of our volunteers this Volunteers’ Week for giving us the gift of their time. There is nothing more valuable or precious than that – and every hour of their time helps CLIC Sargent support more children and young people with cancer.”

For more information about CLIC Sargent’s work and volunteering opportunities, click here.

Notes to editors

For more information about CLIC Sargent please contact Jessica Rees at jessica.rees@clicsargent.org.uk or call 0117 311 2659.

About cancer in children and young people

Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent

When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors

Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.

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