#PilgrimsLife: Meet Pilgrims vintage shop volunteers

Pilgrims Hospices has three vintage shops in Canterbury, Folkestone and Tenterden that specialise in items from times past. They are run by a band of dedicated managers and volunteers, who are all interested in vintage items and motivated by a desire to support Pilgrims.

Pilgrims vintage shop volunteers are some of the thousands of volunteers who support every aspect of the charity’s work to make a difference for local families.

Here, they share their stories.

Maria, Canterbury vintage shop volunteer

Maria started volunteering in April 2017, so she’s the newest member of the team at the Canterbury shop. She is an MSc Marketing student at the University of Kent.

“I wanted to volunteer here because the shop gets so many unique items and it’s really well organised. I enjoy discovering new items; I personally shop here, too.

Everyone here is so friendly. Everyone should support causes like Pilgrims.”

Yumi, Canterbury vintage shop volunteer

I feel appreciated, and I enjoy seeing the range of people who visit our shop – for some people it’s a retro museum experience.

Yumi has been volunteering for a year. She has experience of a family member being cared for by Pilgrims, and her son volunteers at Pilgrims bookshop, Burgate Books.

“I wanted to volunteer because I had some spare time and I live nearby. It’s a good cause, and we sell nice things. I haven’t worked in retail before so that makes a nice change for me. I enjoy working with my colleagues, they’re nice people and we have a great manager. It’s nice to socialise.

I think other people should volunteer for Pilgrims because everyone can relate to end-of-life care.”

Amina, Folkestone vintage shop volunteer

Amina is a textile designer who has been volunteering for five months. She has also done care work in the past.

“I had some free time and didn’t just want to sit at home by myself. I wanted to get out and make a difference. I love the sense of community here. It’s great to meet people, talk to them and learn how they see things. I like hearing about the personal stories attached to their donated items.”

Jo, Canterbury vintage shop volunteer

Jo has been volunteering for two and a half years. She often chooses an ‘item of the week’ to showcase from her favourite recent donations to the shop.

Volunteering for Pilgrims makes you so appreciative. The people here are in it for the right reasons. We focus on the customer and there are great training opportunities.

“I’m into haberdashery, so that section of Pilgrims Canterbury vintage shop drew me in. I noticed they were advertising for volunteers, and as I’d taken early retirement and had some spare time I decided to apply. I really enjoy socialising and building close relationships with people; I missed that part of office work.

The people here are in it for the right reasons. We focus on the customer, there are great training opportunities and we have a supportive shop manager. It’s lovely to see repeat customers, too.

Volunteering for Pilgrims makes you so appreciative. It’s a nice way to be part of the community.”

Elizabeth, Folkestone vintage shop volunteer

Elizabeth has been volunteering at Pilgrims Folkestone shop for six and a half years.

“I’m retired so I wanted to do something. I love working on the till and meeting new people. It’s lovely, I’ve made lots of friends by volunteering.”

Anna, Tenterden vintage shop volunteer

“I volunteer for Pilgrims because my mother was cared for in the hospice. I feel appreciated, and I enjoy seeing the range of people who visit our shop – they love it because it’s like stepping back in time. For some people it’s a retro museum experience.

It’s easy to volunteer with Pilgrims. You’ll be appreciated and it’s for a very worthwhile cause.”

If you’d like to become a Pilgrims vintage shop volunteer, contact one of our shop managers:

  • Char (Canterbury) 07972 855204
  • Alison (Folkestone) 01303 2590378
  • Sarah (Tenterden) 01580 765462

Every hour and every minute of volunteering for Pilgrims Hospices is hugely valued and goes a long way for the people needing our care.

Our volunteers play a part in every aspect of life in our hospices. They offer support, skills, kindness and care. They raise money, and can be a friendly face helping in our shops or working on our receptions. By generously giving their time, volunteers support our staff as they work to provide the outstanding levels of care for which we are well known.

If reading about Pilgrims huge community of volunteers has inspired, find out more about our current volunteering opportunities. You can also download our fundraising pack here.

If you’re already volunteering for Pilgrims, share your story with us on Twitter using the hashtag #PilgrimsLife.

Together we can make a difference for the thousands of people who depend on Pilgrims services across east Kent every day of the year.

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution of the millions of people who volunteer in their communities across the UK. This year it’s taking place from 1-7 June.