Volunteering: the whole community benefits

For Lesley, volunteering at the Brotherhood is a social activity that builds her skills and puts a smile on her face every week.

Above: Lesley, Northcote Community Store and Homework Club volunteer.

Lesley, who is a retired teacher, started her volunteer journey with us seven years ago, with our Homework Club. She now volunteers at the Northcote Community Store as well. She describes the Northcote op shop as a ‘hidden gem’. Although it’s tucked away at the side of the historic blue-stone All Saints Anglican Church in Northcote, the op shop is spacious and busy. It’s always brimming with clothing, books and CDs, as well as an ever-changing array of bric-a-brac, toys and collectables.

The day Lesley began at the Northcote store she thought she only had two hours to spare, but soon found she enjoyed it too much to leave. Time flew and Lesley ended up staying even longer than expected, “On my first shift I stayed six hours and enjoyed the whole time,” she explains.

Lesley volunteers at the store one day a week and still tutors at Homework Club once a week. She felt useful in the store from the start. “There are so many small but important tasks that people can do, even on day one,” she says.

Lesley’s background as a teacher makes her a natural fit at Homework Club, but she’s also found her niche at Northcote, where she specialises in books. Having prior experience in retail has made her an asset to the shop, and has allowed her to brush up her customer service skills. “You gain a lot of confidence as well as new friends,” she says.

Lesley loves knowing that the time she spends at the Northcote store benefits her community in so many ways. “On top of the things I gain from volunteering, the whole community benefits from the low environmental-impact shopping and the funds generated. It’s brilliant.”

Lesley is an advocate for volunteering and believes everyone should give it a try. “There is a huge amount of work to do and jobs for all sorts of people,” she says. “We are always looking for more helpers.”

Find out more about volunteering in one of our stores or programs.