Around 15 years ago I was working as a residential support worker caring for people, I was not enjoying my work but had no experience in retail, which I wanted to do.
One day while shopping in a charity shop, I went to the counter to be served, I noticed the lady serving me was upset, so I asked if she was ok…. She broke down and started to tell me she lost her husband recently and the gentleman she had just served reminded her of him, I felt sorry for her, so when she informed me they needed volunteers I applied there and then.
The following week I started doing a few hours around my regular work, they started me of with distributing leaflets, collecting the donation sacks, working back of house sorting, and steaming stock, working front of house restocking rails, pricing stock, serving customers and helping while deputy or manager was off.
I was then informed of a vacancy for a paid position as deputy manager that going at new branch that was opening, and told to apply. I did not feel ready to do this so passed on it………6 months later this position came up again, again I refused to apply…. Thankfully my team members applied for me and I was interviewed, while working as a volunteer, I got the position.
From deputy manager, I went to temporary manager, back to deputy manager, then manager in less than 3 years. I learnt everything I needed as a volunteer.
For myself I had little confidence and struggled to show myself positively in an interview, so volunteering built my confidence, and gave me all the knowledge needed to work in this area.
It helped me to gain the skills and confidence I needed to successfully gain my role as a Retail Hub Supervisor at CT Furniture Wolverhampton.
I would advise that anyone that is at a loss, needs company, wants to belong, is looking to get back into work; volunteering is the best way of doing this. Not only does it opens doors, boost your confidence and self esteem but it also prepares you for the world of work; equipping you with new skills and gives you the opportunity to meet a range of new, interesting, helpful and supportive individuals.
If your interested in volunteering, visit our volunteer page to find out more.
Iris worked as a shop assistant until she had to have an operation.
I had an operation and when I had recovered I found that I was bored and wanted something to do, which is why I looked into volunteering. I already had experience of dealing with people so was happy that I could contribute my customer service skills. I’m a fairly patient person, which I also know can be helpful when trying to provide people with services that fits their needs.
In return for volunteering I was hoping to gain satisfaction and I feel that I achieve that on a daily basis at CT Furniture. I love working here and as well as helping others I have also gained confidence in IT by increasing my computer skills.
I see everyone at CT as a friend and I’m just glad that I get to do this on a daily basis.
If your interested in volunteering, visit our volunteer page to find out more
“I began working at CT Furniture through a work placement in September 2015.
When I first started I found the work quite challenging but in all honestly I’ve had a really good time working here, as everyone I have met has become a second family to me.
Once my work placement was complete I decided that I wanted to stay on as a volunteer retail admin assistant, which I did in January 2016. Originally, I was looking to help by lending my administrative, customer service and sales skills, but I have now gone on to increase my marketing and social media skills, which has really boosted my confidence; so much so that when a vacancy became available for a retail admin assistant in September 2016, I applied and got the job.
I began working part time in paid employment as and then went on to secure a full time position retail managing the Wednesfield shop. This included serving customers, managing the shop floor, stock and our Facebook page, as well as responding to enquiries that came through to me on and off line.
I have also recently applied for a retail supervisor position and been successful! This all started from volunteering so it just goes to show how being a volunteer can help. I thoroughly recommend anyone thinking about volunteering to go for it, you never know where it may lead.”
If your interested in volunteering, visit our volunteer page to find out more.
Without a job or daily activities to keep him busy, Ben would sit in his room listening to music all day. Being unemployed and unable to afford to do much, he became increasingly demotivated and depressed.
Going to the job centre and attending appointments at employment support agencies was the only activity that kept him busy. Whilst attending his appointments Ben heard about Talent Match and got in touch with them to see how they could help him. After discussing his interests and employment goals with his local Talent Match support worker, a meeting was set up at CT Furniture Birmingham to see how Ben could contribute and gain additional work based skills at the charities second-hand furniture store.
The meeting was a success and Ben began volunteering as a retail assistant.
Whilst volunteering he helped to organise furniture around the store, completed a manual handling course and gained knowledge of different types and features of furniture. As Ben seemed to pick up tasks quite quickly, he was also asked to help with updating social media.
After 3 months of volunteering, Ben was invited to an interview for a job he had applied for. His interview was successful and he was offered a job as a Production Operative.
“Volunteering has helped me to feel more confident in my own abilities. I’m more active, I don’t get depressed anymore and I have a full time job that I’m really enjoying. Without volunteering I wouldn’t have been introduced to CT Furniture Birmingham and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet a great bunch of people who I now see as friends. I’m also really glad that I took a chance on Talent Match, they helped to guide and support me when I was stuck.”
Volunteer with CT Furniture.
To accept and sell donated items to the public CT Furniture must comply with UK safety standards. To do this, we ensure that all donated upholstered furniture items have the relevant fire safety labels attached.
Fire safety labels can be found on external surfaces of items including underneath or on removable cushions. The images below will give you an idea of what a fire safety label looks like.
If you have items to donate, please check that a fire safety label is attached to upholstered furniture items so that we can take them of your hands.
We also ask that items are in good condition so that they can be sold in store.
To donate items visit www.ctfurniture.org/donate
We’ve found that a number of individuals who have visited our stores have done so with the belief that you must be receiving benefits to buy items from CT Furniture. This is not true.
Our stores are open to people from all walks of life, although we do aim to ensure that our furniture is affordable for individuals on low incomes, which is why we work in partnership with Sandwell Council to provide recipients of low welfare provision with furniture.
The scheme aims to provide support where:
• A household does not have enough resources to meet an urgent need or crisis that poses an immediate and substantial risk to their health and safety. A crisis is an urgent need because of an emergency, disaster, unforeseen circumstance or a pressing need that is strikingly different from the normal pressures associated with managing on a low income.
• Someone is leaving care and needs essential household items to establish themselves in the community
• Someone needs essential household items to set up a home as part of a planned resettlement program.
To be able to get assistance through Sandwell’s LWP scheme, customers must:
• Be aged 18 or over
• Have been living in Sandwell immediately before requesting assistance
Be receiving one of the following benefits:
o Income Support
o Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
o Income related Employment and Support Allowance
o Pension Credit (Guarantee Element only).
o Universal Credit – Where you qualify for the full Allowance (i.e. There are no deductions for employment)
CT Furniture Sandwell work in partnership with Sandwell’s LWP to provide the following:
• Furniture / White Goods – All furniture will be good second hand furniture except for white goods and mattresses.
To access Sandwell’s LWP scheme, you will need to go to your local neighbourhood office in Sandwell to be referred to the scheme.
For more information visit http://bit.ly/CTFLWP to find available furniture visit our Sandwell Store’s Facebook Page.
Don’t forget that if you’re not receiving benefits we have furniture available to you too!