Tenovus Cancer Care charity shop volunteer smiles and holds up contactless payment terminal to a perspex protective screen

‘Being in the shop is an absolute tonic’

Published : 12/10/20 | Categories:

A case study from Tenovus Cancer Care, part of our #CharityShopVolunteersWales campaign in partnership with the Charity Retail Association.


‘Whatever people say, having cancer is completely life changing. The experience left me with absolute fear for my future, and in the early stages I struggled to think about anything else. I was silly because I didn’t tell anyone, and because I kept my hair for a good part of the treatment I didn’t need to tell anyone.

‘I’d read about Tenovus Cancer Care in a leaflet given at a radiotherapy open evening for patients and their families. Their support was superb and the timing of it was great. I’ve been able to put things into perspective, overcome my fear and face the future more positively.

‘I decided to start volunteering at my local Tenovus Cancer Care shop in Mumbles once a week. I met the team in September last year, saw how it all worked, learnt their procedures and started to feel really good about it.

Volunteer in Tenovus Cancer Care charity shop smiles widely in front of a clothes rail, there are shoes and other wares in the background

‘I’d only been volunteering for a few months when the Coronavirus pandemic came along and the shop was forced to close. The whole team managed to keep in touch through a group chat though which was brilliant for lifting each other’s spirits at times.

‘Being told the shop was able to reopen in early August was great. I was looking forward to volunteering again and spent my first week back cleaning and installing personal protective equipment. Our winter range was still on display so it was a real team effort to get the shop ready for customers.

‘Mumbles is a small town with a lovely community and working in the local charity shop means I get to feel like a bigger part of it. The regular customers are already coming back to see us and it’s nice to have those catch-up conversations at the till point.

‘Keeping busy is a good distraction from anything, and being in the shop is an absolute tonic. I volunteer with a great bunch of people and if I’m feeling down they are a joy to be around. I’ve been given so much by Tenovus Cancer Care and volunteering is going to be a good way of giving something back.’


This week (from 12 October 2020) WCVA in partnership with the Charity Retail Association will be sharing the stories of charity shop volunteers in Wales. Keep an eye on WCVA’s website and social media (where we’ll be using #CharityShopVolunteersWales) to hear about a range of different experiences from individuals volunteering in charity shops.

Volunteering during the pandemic should only be done with due care and consideration for the wellbeing of volunteers, staff and customers. You’ll find safeguarding guidance on our Covid-19 guidance and resources page. For information about limitations or considerations for local lockdowns in wales visit: gov.wales/local-lockdown.

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