Former Devizes dinner lady Jacky Hiscock is encouraging people to consider giving up their time to become a volunteer after it helped her to find a job.
In advance of national Make A Difference Day on October 27, Mrs Hiscock hopes her own story will inspire others to lend their support to good causes.
She started volunteering at the Barnardo’s shop in Devizes in 2006 and was appointed as a paid sales assistant the same year.
Now she supports other members of the team who hope volunteering will help them to find their first job or return to work after unemployment.
Mrs Hiscock, 59, said: “I was a dinner lady at a local primary for more than 20 years and had so much free time on my hands after I left.
“The former deputy manager of the Barnardo’s shop in Devizes was a friend of mine and she suggested I might enjoy helping her for a few hours a week.
“I’d never volunteered before but I thought it would give me something to do while I looked for other work.
“I got involved with all sorts of tasks around the shop – sorting stock and serving customers – and enjoyed it so much that I started increasing my hours and eventually applied for the paid position of part-time sales assistant. I haven’t looked back since.”
She added: “We often meet customers who say their life was turned around by Barnardo’s and they thank us for what we’re doing.”
Barnardo’s shop manager Cynthia Hart said: “We always offer a warm welcome to our volunteers, whatever their age and experience. Many have gone on to paid employment elsewhere and they often say it was their time here that helped with their search for work.”
The Barnardo’s shop is open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.
The team includes almost 20 volunteers but more help is needed to spread the workload throughout the week.
Call (01380) 721247 for details.