Wiltshire Publications

Westbury woman says volunteering turned her life around

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 at 12:13 pm.

The value of volunteering has been praised by a Westbury woman whose own life was transformed by helping others.

Debbi Griffiths was left with serious injuries after a road traffic accident several years ago, including two years in a wheelchair.

Suffering from anxiety and depression, she rarely left her home and was unsure if she would ever work again.

However, she decided that volunteering might help to rebuild her confidence and so she started helping at the Barnardo’s store in Westbury.

Just a few months later she successfully applied to become a store associate and is now encouraging others to use volunteering as a stepping stone to employment.

Debbi, aged 50, said, “I used to be a self-employed courier, which was a very physically active job, but I was in an accident which affected my balance, co-ordination and speech for a long time. I wondered if I would ever be fit enough to return to work.

“I needed a purpose to get me back out in the world, and volunteering seemed a good place to start.”

Debbi was already a regular customer at the Barnardo’s store in Palomino Place and applied to join the team.

She began volunteering in April, initially for 10 hours each week, but eventually increasing her contribution to 25 hours each week.

Her self-confidence returned and so she applied for the paid position of store associate and began her new role in September.

Debbi said, “I’d never volunteered before, but it made me feel so much better. I was meeting people and chatting to people again.

“Everyone was fun and friendly and I enjoyed being part of a team. Every day was different, but I always felt valued and appreciated.

“It proved that I could go back to work again and so I was delighted when I successfully applied to become the store associate.

“It’s so rewarding to be supporting the wonderful work of Barnardo’s, helping to provide a more positive future for vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the UK.”

Barnardo’s store manager Linda Hazell said, “We are so lucky to have Debbi as a member of our team and we hope that her story will encourage even more people to consider volunteering.”

The Westbury store is open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5.30pm and on Sundays from 10am-4pm.

The team always welcome donations of good-quality clothes, books, toys, games, accessories and bric-a-brac, as well as offers of help from potential volunteers.

Call (01373) 822515.

Last year Barnardo’s supported 272,000 children, young people and families through more than a thousand services across the UK. Visit www.barnardos.org.uk

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