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To cancel volunteering...

(34 Posts)
littlemissshittingit Sun 14-Jul-13 20:41:53

I've recently started volunteering with a local second hand shop. I had a five minute induction last week, had my first "shift" towards the end of the week.

The work isn't too strenuous, mainly involves folding and steaming clothing and then tagging it. I can't use my initiative because I've been told nothing about how the shop runs - I got given 3 black bags of clothing last week, told to take the tags off every single one and then put the same coloured tags straight back on but without pricing them.. Everything I do I have to ask "Shall I.. Do you need.. Would you like.." .. In the end they sent me home early as they said there was nothing else for me to do (was supposed to do 4 hours, I did 3)

The charity's website said they have a policy of paying all basic expenses for volunteers. I travel in 8 miles, paying £6 a day, asked the management about this. They said as I won't work "full time" I'm not entitled. They said I can't work more than I am (max 2 or 3 mornings a week) as they've too many employees and volunteers.

£6 a day, i.e. £20 a week for 3 shifts, is a lot of money for me as I have no income other than DLA and need to cough up over 1k by September for rent.. plus other expenses e.g. clothes, toiletries..

I spoke to my no-nonsense, child of the war gran last weekend who pointed out that if I'm going to bother travelling it should be for a paid job that I'd get something out of.

I'm a bit worried about work experience - however, I want to work as a holistic health type therapist or something (not sure how better to label it) and am kind of wondering what sort of w/e I am getting out of this - apart from maybe having a referee who can vouch for me being willing to work!!

(To put this all in context, I'm 22, haven't done any paid work since 16 despite endless applications/speculative letters, went direct from school to uni and then during uni ended up with MH issues/family issues so never been able to work..)

I have done a bit of voluntary work as it is although mainly with teens and children - worked with lower years at secondary school when I was in sixth year, have done two formal school placements, worked with Girlguiding for 6 years and have worked with teenagers online for a year (counselling them on sexual health and relationships).. I also have a "management" role in a uni society.

But surely if when I graduate uni next summer, and start searching for a job any prospective employer won't take on someone who hasn't been employed for years??

What would you do, would you quit?

AIBU to phone them up and say that I've changed my mind? Think I'll feel a right cow for letting them down sad and wont ever be able to show face in the shop again but maybe it's what I need to do?

thetrackisback Mon 15-Jul-13 07:01:39

Where are you OP? I work for a large organisation with care homes for people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, alcohol rehabilitation. We have a volunteering scheme and this could seriously lead to an employment opprtunity. The organisation has mindful employer status so having mental health issues will not stand in your way. Private message e if you are interested!

LIZS Mon 15-Jul-13 07:38:42

I'm going to go against the grain here and say you should stick at it , even if just for a few months. You will learn customer service skills, time management, interpersonal skills etc. At the beginning it is always crap , you don't have the relevant experience of how they work or who best to ask but that won't come unless you stay. Do however pursue the expense issue as what they are saying doesn't ring true , even if they don't need the reimbursement you do - next time clarify this at interview. Keep looking for paid work too , there is nothing to say you cannot do both, even covering reception at a health club or a sports centre. Are you registered with temp agencies ?

WhoNickedMyName Mon 15-Jul-13 07:44:10

You've only done an induction and one shift.

I think you should stick with it whilst looking for something else.

LIZS Mon 15-Jul-13 07:54:23

and even if you do have to pay travel , could you not use the rest of the day to go to library , job hunt etc so you avoid a double expense. Would you qualify for a bus pass if you claimed ESA ?

JazzDalek Mon 15-Jul-13 08:54:30

Why don't you try your local CAB. They give good training and always need volunteers.

Seconding this - the training is great, and the work experience you gain has lots of transferable skills. I have been doing it for a couple of months now and in a typical day I:

Conduct interviews
Write case notes
Book appointments
Take telephone enquiries

You can begin training as a gateway assessor, which takes six weeks, and after that if you're so inclined you can undertake full advisor training, which takes quite a bit longer, but is very well-regarded by employers.

littlemissshittingit Mon 15-Jul-13 10:10:29

Lizs I never even got interviewed, I wish I had - I walked in to the shop, asked if they need any volunteers and one of the staff asked when I could come in for an induction. The induction was run by one of the staff but consisted of me being given a booklet to read alone, she asked me to tell her when I was finished and then told me to come back on xyz day to start volunteering.

In all that time I never met the manager.

Ironically, I ended up throwing up at 2am this morning so I've just come off the phone. The manager was very understanding, said not to worry at all.

I live roughly 40 miles from Aberdeen city in a teeny tiny village.. I spend normally every week in city and every weekend at home but until September am stuck in village.

I've looked up Thrive (never heard of it, they sound fab!) but nothing up here from what I can tell. However there might be something similar somewhere so will start looking! We do have an animal sanctuary some twenty miles up the road so I might contact them and see if they're up for volunteers, they do animal therapy sessions.. Track I'll PM you smile

Unfortunately due to my home situation there's some stuff I'm "barred" from doing - my sister's disabled and attends the only local centre for young adults with disabilities, so couldn't really work there. I think she'd be mortified if I was working there!

There is an opportunity of doing pet therapy sessions - e.g. taking a pet into the local hospital and allowing patients to have a chat with them. I'd enjoy that and am seriously considering it - we have a dog, she'd be unsuitable as she's a snappy lady but certainly one of the cats would be great.

Once I get back to uni I'm going to make a point of contacting their careers service, and also contacting a couple of counselling/therapy centres that I've been given the names of, to see if they might allow me to shadow or something. There's a soft play centre not too far away for disabled children so might give them a call.

Bus pass wise I'm looking into that. I've got anxiety/depression and OCD type behaviours and dyspraxia, get DLA at lowest levels due to those things. I don't know if I'm entitled to ESA, we tried that for another relative who takes random uncontrolled fits and they said she was perfectly capable of work!!

But with the dyspraxia I don't think I'm able to drive so getting a bus pass would really help. I just need to work out how to get it!

ZillionChocolate Mon 15-Jul-13 10:29:50

Wouldn't have thought you could claim ESA if you're a student but will depend on your course I suppose.

I think a background of work is relevant and useful, regardless of what was involved. I know someone who employs new graduates but won't take them on unless they've worked on weekends/in holidays.

Given the money it's costing you and the fact that they're over staffed, I'd see if you can find something more beneficial to you.

Kernowgal Tue 16-Jul-13 19:39:00

OP as you're up Aberdeen way, if the horticulture side interests you, you could always try Cruickshank Botanic Garden either to volunteer there or to see if they know of any other charities locally that might suit what you want to do.

Almostfifty Tue 16-Jul-13 19:41:33

What about CHAS? I'm sure they'd jump at your help.

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