Hope Rescue charity shop staff sit in front of a shop window filled with Christmas decorations

‘My mental health has improved by forging a healthy support network’

Published : 12/10/20 | Categories:

A case study from Hope Rescue, part of our #CharityShopVolunteersWales campaign in partnership with the Charity Retail Association

Since 2005 Hope Rescue has been saving the lives of stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs that, through no fault of their own, need a second chance. At Hope Rescue, we have hundreds of volunteers that volunteer across the charity including dog walking and kennel cleaning, event stewards, crafters, foster carers, fundraisers and of course at our charity shop.  Our charity shop covers our monthly vet bills so our operations are crucial to regular income and without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to open. Some operate our till and have a fantastic relationship with our customers, lots of which are regulars who like to pop in and say hi, others cover our back of house operations in sorting and steaming. They love to volunteer with us as for some, it’s a break from the norm and has helped many with mental health and anxiety issues. Volunteering has helped to build their confidence and self-esteem.

We have been closed for six months due to flooding in February and of course, COVID-19 but we have had one volunteer Mary who has been a huge help to us while we have been closed. Mary has been running our online shop from her spare bedroom and has been at our closed shop, sorting and tidying upstairs so that when we are able to get back in, everything is ready to go. Mary also creates many our signs and point of sales putting into use her qualifications. This is what Mary has to say about volunteering and Hope Rescue:

‘Volunteering at the Hope Rescue Charity Shop helps me keep in touch with the community, the cause, and myself.’

‘I am able to network with customers and staff of varying backgrounds and interests that I never would have met otherwise.’

‘Having fostered dogs before moving to the area, I had wondered about animal cruelty laws, dog training and behaviour, and best practice. Working with the Rescue Charity Shop, I not only get educated in these matters, but I get to help and educate others as well.’

‘I sharpen skills I’d use in my certified and qualified work (in graphics design and customer service, for instance).’

‘Personally, my mental health has improved by forging a healthy support network, starting to learn healthy interpersonal habits (like learning to set limits and say ‘no’), and setting and accomplishing goals. I am glad I turned in to Hope Rescue Charity Shop so many years ago as a customer. I am even gladder to have stayed on as a volunteer.’

We thank all of our volunteers for their continued commitment to us. We really wouldn’t be able to open our shop without you.


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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