According to Breda Sheehan, Manager of the National Council for the Blind Ireland (NCBI) Charity Stop in Tralee, when it comes to managing volunteers, it’s all about appreciation and making the experience a positive one for all involved. We in Kerry Volunteer Centre agree fully!
Breda manages a team of up to 12 volunteers, and is keen to let them know that their hard work is appreciated. “I think the most important thing is to treat people the same way you would like to be treated yourself. You have to constantly keep in your head that they are giving of their free time, they are there to help out of goodwill. You have to appreciate them,” Breda advised.
Breda joined the team in the NCBI Charity Shop in Ashe Street in September last year, coming from a very different retail environment and was glad of all the support that volunteers offered her in her first few weeks on the job. “It’s a really is a fantastic place to work. Our volunteers want to be here, they are not coming in to be paid, everyone comes in in good form, we all get on and help out each other,” she added.
Joining the team at the NCBI opened Breda’s horizons in more ways that one, the role as shop manager also put her in the spotlight in terms of fundraising and she signed up for a sky dive!. The decision on fundraising for 2018 will be made in January but in the meantime the shop Ashe Street is the priority.
The shop opens from 9.30 to 5.30 Monday to Saturday selling everything from clothes and footwear to general bric-á-brac and books. One of the more popular areas of the shop is the designated vintage/designer section which goes down a treat with dedicated followers of fashion.
Volunteers help out in every aspect of the running of the store, some working a couple of hours a week, some a day every few weeks- whatever suits their availability. “The roles are like those you would find in a normal shop, customer service, merchandising and equally there is the back of shop where we sort donations and prepare clothes of sale and recycling,” Breda revealed.
All the money raised in the shop goes towards supporting people and projects in around the county in particularly the centre at Cumann Iosaef where the NCBI work to help people adapt to vision loss and maintain their independence. They also provide advice, information, emotional and practical support.
“We are always looking for people to help out- particularly on Friday and Saturdays. We make out a rota a few weeks ahead and try and make sure that no one is ever here on their own,” she added.
If you would like to Volunteer in your local Charity shop or with the NCBI Charity shop in Tralee call click here. Like wise you can talk to Linda, the Placement Officer, at Kerry Volunteer Centre on 066 7117966 or email her to find out more via linda@volunteerkerry