Being welcomed and supported as part of the Sue Ryder retail team

05 Jan 2022

Izzy is 19 years old and has just started working with Sue Ryder as a member of Retail Bank Staff. She started out volunteering with Sue Ryder as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award, and enjoyed it so much she didn’t want to leave! Izzy is autistic, and found that Sue Ryder was an extremely welcoming environment for her when she was looking for employment.

“I always feel welcome and all the volunteers get on well”

Izzy first heard about Sue Ryder when looking for somewhere to complete her voluntary placement for her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award (DOE). She knew right away that it was the right fit for her. “I enjoy meeting new people, always feel welcome and all the volunteers get on really well – everyone just loves coming in, and even come in on their days off just to say hello!” she says.

The Sue Ryder charity shop where she first started volunteering in Ruislip, West London, has a particularly dedicated, engaged and supportive team. “During Covid everyone was asking, ‘How can we help?’” Izzy says, “There’s always a lot of communication, both in person and via messaging. If someone hasn’t been in for a while, we’ll check up on them and make sure they’re okay.”

Gaining confidence

“I’m autistic and used to struggle a lot with socialising “, Izzy explains. “When I started volunteering, I just stayed in the back, but after a while I began helping out on the till, which gave me much more confidence.”

She told staff that she would be back after finishing her Duke of Edinburgh Award, but thinks they were a bit sceptical. But as promised, she came back to volunteer. “I couldn’t wait to get back!” she exclaims.

Becoming a retail staff member

After finishing school, Izzy felt pressure from her parents to get a job, as she wasn’t planning on going to university. She found a job in a restaurant, but found she still preferred volunteering with Sue Ryder, and was holding out for a paid role with the charity. So when she saw the role advertised in store, it felt like a sign!

Izzy felt welcomed in her new role from day one.

“When I started, there was a message on the board to welcome me to the team”. Now a month into her employment with Sue Ryder, Izzy is relishing the opportunity to work at different branches of Sue Ryder across the capital when required.

“I never used to travel around much, but now I get to go to different areas all the time” she says, “and it’s really enjoyable meeting new volunteers every time. It feels like being on holiday!”

Please note, the minimum age for volunteering with Sue Ryder is 17 years old. Find out more on our volunteering FAQs page.

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