Volunteering for Shelter has made me more compassionate and boosted my confidence – Kate’s story 

Published: by Mark O'Loughlin

Selfie of volunteer Kate

Kate has contributed four to eight hours a week to volunteering at a Shelter shop in Bristol since September 2020. As well as creating Instagram posts for the shop, she uses her sewing skills to repair clothes at home for a few hours per week. Kate enjoys using her visual merchandising skills to make a positive impact.

For Kate, volunteering in the Shelter shop is a great outlet for her creativity. She created a window display for Valentine’s Day, involving two headless mannequins dressed up for dinner.

Two mannequins dressed up by volunteer Kate for Valentines Day at a window display at a Shelter shop in Bristol

Kate also works part-time as a PA to the sales director at Barratt David Wilson Homes and when not working or volunteering, she enjoys attending art classes, wild camping and going to the gym. She also volunteers with a charity called Bristol and Wales Cat Rescue.

Kate has seen the homelessness crisis worsen over the years in Bristol and wanted to help in some way. She started volunteering with Shelter as funds raised directly help people in need. She was also curious to learn more about the housing crisis which she had seen for herself.

‘Living in Bristol, I’ve always seen people who were homeless on the street and wondered what their lives were like. Where do they sleep at night? Is it safe? What do the girls do? Who’s helping them?’

‘They visit the Shelter shop sometimes and are given sleeping bags and coats which we can’t sell in the shop.’

Kate feels that volunteering has made a big difference in her life and has given her greater confidence and made her more compassionate.

‘Initially, I was apprehensive of a customer-facing role, but I’m not now. I love chatting to them and saying hello, it really makes a difference to their day.’

As well as customers in the shop, Kate enjoys spending time with the other Shelter volunteers and the team.

‘The people there, especially the managers, are amazing. They make it a nice place to volunteer and they’re very appreciative, of everything we do which you don’t always get in your day-to-day job.’

Find out about our volunteer opportunities.