A message from our Volunteer

By Nicole Blackmore March 9, 2023

A Message from our volunteer

Lance’s Story

“I started as a volunteer at Family Life after the company I was contracting to was sold and my services were not picked up by the new owners. Covid, lockdowns and a changing job market have combined to make finding work difficult.

Volunteering has helped fill the gap left by not working. Working the morning shift gives a reason to shave, get dressed and interact with people.

I work one morning at the Distribution Centre and two at the Cheltenham shop. This provides interaction with a wide range of people and work experiences.

Depending on your personal situation, volunteering may provide the opportunity to learn new skills.

My work history has been in the Quality area of the Dairy Industry, writing procedures, conducting audits and working with external agencies for certification. Now I can spot a Bali fake Prada at five paces and recognise a Diana Ferrari garment blindfolded. It might not add to your CV but it does keep your mind working and your body active.

The wide range of volunteers means that there will be some with the same interests as you and others that you can learn from or that want to learn from you. The donated items have provided the raw material for my hobbies, with blankets becoming coats, belts used for braided wristbands and ties upcycled into skirts.

Volunteering has also provided subject matter and ideas for my other activities of writing and poetry. My poem about being a volunteer is now in the third version as it has been added to over time.

The social aspect of volunteering has been enhanced by having an Op Shop Pot Luck tea one night as part of the celebration of one year in the location. This was well supported by the staff and volunteers at the shop with only those out of town or with other engagements not attending.

I have Parkinsons and find that working as a volunteer helps me keep moving as there is a purpose to it. My distinctive step is well known and a “Good Morning Lance” is often heard from behind the curtain at the shop before I get through it.

The range of options available means that you can find one that suits you, and any limitations you may have in your life can be accommodated.

What is required to volunteer? I would say that all that is needed is some free time and an openness to new experiences. Family Life and the volunteers will take care of the rest, and you, if you join the crew.

Is volunteering worth it? Undoubtedly, Yes! Aside from the contribution to the community, the people make it an experience to be valued.”

Family Life Volunteer


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