A day in the life of Val, Volunteer Shop Manager

Val has found a different way of volunteering for Girlguiding - as a Volunteer Shop Manager

As a volunteer shop worker, I love seeing the look on a Rainbow's face when she wears her uniform for the first time.

Brownies are like buses. I hadn't sold any size 30 Brownie uniform t-shirts for weeks – then all of a sudden a swarm of Brownies arrived and bought them all in the exact same size! Fortunately, all it takes is a quick phone call to Mary at Trading and we're re-stocked ready for the after-school rush this Wednesday. But I bet my customers will all be Rainbows or Guides then!

I've been volunteering in a Girlguiding shop in Northamptonshire for about 25 years. I started out as a helper when a call went out in our District meeting for someone to come in once a month, and became the manager 15 years ago.

As well as opening the volunteer shop on Wednesdays and Saturdays, during the rest of the week I make orders and receive parcels.

A day in the volunteer shop

I'm excited because a parcel has arrived containing some special neckers we ordered two months ago. I know the Unit Leader will be pleased - her Brownies have been asking about them at every meeting. The neckers are yellow with a light blue border and when she picks them up she immediately posts a picture on her units' Facebook for all the parents to see.

A real highlight for me is when a girl is just starting guiding or changing section. I love seeing the look on a Rainbow's face when she wears her uniform for the first time. Volunteer shops are a big part of what parents see of Girlguiding and I tend to be a source of information about what's going on in our area.

I was right about the Guides coming in! Today we sell two skirts from the new Guide uniform. I'll have to place an order to Trading for some more.

This evening is all about the non-routine items. Another Leader comes in to order a flag especially for her unit. They've been given a grant by a local councillor towards it. We chat about how excited the girls will be to have their very own flag. Talking to Leaders is one of my favourite parts of the day. They ask many and varied questions, and not just about resources or the shop – I help with general guiding queries too.

Visit your volunteer shop

Pop in to say hello and thank you to the committed volunteers who sell uniform and merchandise - all to benefit guiding in their local area.