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Double celebrations for Redcar charity shop

01 June 2022

Our Kidney Research UK shop in Redcar will be in a celebratory mood this week as it looks to mark volunteer’s week alongside the all-important Platinum Jubilee. The charity  shop has been adorned in red, white, and blue to mark the occasion with a stunning window display to spread the jubilee joy and celebrate the volunteers who help to keep the shop running.

Shop manager, Neil Stewart said “It’s a great chance to show our volunteers how much we appreciate them. We have people from all walks of life. We have people who’ve worked in health and safety and in accounting, some who’ve been in the army, mums, minors, people who’ve been on benefits their whole lives and haven’t been able to catch a break. The age range is from 16 up to their 80s. Without all of them, there is no shop – they are the heart and soul. Without their kindness in donating their time and effort, where would we be? I’ve nothing but respect for them.”

Creating a community

Over the years, Neil and his assistant Jan have created an enormous a sense of community, supporting volunteers to enjoy their work, develop skills and friendships. Many of the current 23 volunteers are longstanding, but there is also a steady stream who use the experience as a gateway to employment, gaining NVQs and references with the support from Neil and Jan.

One of the star volunteers includes 16-year-old Melissa who assisted with the Redcar store’s stunning display. A student at Prior Pursgrove College, Melissa started volunteering at the shop last summer and has continued to return during the holidays.

Volunteers at Redcar shop
Left to right – Debbie Collins, Melissa Wade, Megan Stubbs and Arlene Freeman outside the Redcar display

Melissa Wade said “I was looking for some work experience and my mum was a regular at the shop, so she recommended me to Neil. I come in every Saturday and more in the holidays – it gets me out of the house. It’s the people that have kept me coming back, they’re just amazing. I’ve learned so much. Neil and others have taught me some great life skills like building and deconstructing things and learning how to clean properly, I love it.”

Secret to shop success

Neil believes that the secret to the shop’s success is the volunteer workforce who he tries to keep motivated and passionate about the cause. This volunteers week, Neil and his team are looking to promote the hard work that every volunteer puts into helping the shop to operate.

“I just try and do as I was taught, treat people how you’d like to be treated. We just try to be there for them and treat them as a family. A lot of them call it the crazy kidney family” said Neil.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Redcar shop, please call Neil on: 01642 493 663.

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