Cavell started volunteering in the Habitat office in January 2017. She has since also volunteered her time in the ReStore and up-cycling workshop. We recently caught up with her to ask her about her Habitat experience.
I started with Habitat through the Cedar Foundation. I had stopped work due to a head injury and this position was a gateway back into working life.
I first started volunteering in January 2017, so around 8 months now.
The variation of tasks each day means I’m always excited to start volunteering. Although I began by just working in the Habitat office, I gradually began volunteering a few hours in the ReStore and also in the up-cycling workshop, so every day is different!
I have experience in a retail environment, so working on the shop floor was no problem for me. I also bring practical skills like being able to work the till and price items.
On a couple of occasions I volunteered to help facilitate the ‘Our Waste Our World’ programme in primary schools. This is a programme which focuses on the environment and the waste we produce, showing children how Habitat is working both locally and globally to combat this. I really enjoyed being given the opportunity to go out and interact with different people about the work of Habitat.
I really love the time I spend in the up-cycling workshop every week. I get to exhibit my creative side, even starting my own decoupage project!
I’ve learned so much about Habitat and the work they do. I didn’t realise how much work is done locally, between ReStore, working with schools and local volunteering projects.
How busy ReStore can get, and how many repeat customers there are! It’s great to see some of the same faces every week, one customer even joked that she bought so much from ReStore, she’s almost furnished her entire house!
My highlight would definitely be seeing my own progress over time and how far I’ve come since beginning with Habitat. My confidence has grown so much. When I began, I was only able to complete half a day each week, now I come in for 2 whole days and I love it.
I’d never really had much admin experience before, so that was a complete learning curve for me. However with the support from Habitat staff, I’ve gotten the hang of everything and have no problems anymore.
Niall, the ReStore manager, is the most patient person I’ve ever met. He’s so pleasant and always willing to help. Even though he’s constantly dealing with a wide range of customers and volunteers, he always made my time in ReStore so enjoyable.
The opportunities that they provide for people in Northern Ireland, to get involved in volunteering both here and around the world. It’s so inspiring that we can be given this chance to change both our local, and the wider community.