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Light at the end of the tunnel.

Hi Everyone, hope you’re all well. I don’t know if I told you about this, but I had a horrible experience 2 weeks ago. I volunteered at a charity shop for 3 hours a week and loved it. When I started they were just so grateful to have another pair of hands and knew I couldn’t do much but said anything was helpful. They started increasing my load though and we had a busy day with a full shop. I was expected to do the till, polish the shelves in between, steam clothes and then measure curtains.

After all this my poor body was broken but they expected me to Hoover the shop out. I told them I just couldn’t and was told to “go, just go” in a very aggressive manner and when I tried to explain was told “I don’t want to know, just go!” so I did, but told them I wouldn’t be back as I obviously couldn’t do what they expected me to. This was all said by the assistant manager (there are two who are both salaried).

I was told to contact the manager so I e mailed her with my resignation and was given a reply accusing me of putting more work and stress on the other volunteers. I felt really awful and cried for days. I’m over it all now and my life is better because I don’t need a day to recover after my voluntary day. I’ve since found another little “job” doing the tuck shop for the youth club for 1 1/2 hours a week. It’s great, all the people there are genuinely grateful for my help and the kids like me as I sell them sweeties.

Moral of the story- we don’t have to take c__p from anyone, some people don’t deserve our efforts, and we will always find a way to make someone smile.

Take care

Cath.

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Cath, these charity shops usually have a regional structure, with management at every level. Why not take it further? This was blatantly wrong. You can’t let them get away with it. I wonder if workplace laws apply to voluntary workers? I’m sure the health and safety regulations do. These people need exposing, they should be held to account.

By the way, were they by any chance raising money for people with disability?

It stinks!

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Hi Cath

That’s awful that they treated you like that, and quite honestly, they don’t deserve to have volunteers helping them.

They should be grateful for any help which costs them nothing, but definitely someone who struggles with a disability.

They need naming and shaming Cath, but appreciate you don’t need any added stress.

Enjoy your job in the tuck shop, where you are obviously appreciated.

Pam x

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Cath… how absolutely awful for you!!! How can people be so cruel. They knew you have MS!!!

You are right to put it behind you but I can understand how upsetting it must have been.

A friend of mine was given community service after a driving offence. She was sent to work in a charity shop. She has years of experience of retail management. She questioned the fact that the store room was chockablock with unsold stuff that had been there for years… so she said to the manager you should sell it at 50p an item. It cost you nothing but would make money if you sold it dirt cheap. The manager was furious that someone would dare to make a suggestion (esp a good suggestion!).

It makes me wonder who manages these places!

I think you were incredibly brave to put yourself out there and volunteer while dealing with MS symptoms!

Very pleased you have found somewhere where the people appreciate your help. Well done Cath!!!

Pat xx

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The link below tells how Judges decided that one disabled volunteer was not covered by employment law or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. I had no idea. I am truly appalled…

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Aw Cath no wonder you were upset. How dare they make you feel bad when you were trying to help them out. I’m afraid I would gone for a very unladylike parting shot.

well done you for dusting yourself down and starting all over again. I’m sure the kds will appreciate you more.

Mags xx

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Cath, I’m appalled by this. Truly hope you can put it behind you and continue to feel better in yourself.

i do tend to agree with Pam that they should be named and shamed. How about a letter to the local paper? Maybe someone could write it for you, so you can remain anonymous and not have to try to justify yourself or stand your corner. Just an indignant letter from a friend?

Kev x

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Hi Cath, I am really appalled at the appalling way you were treated. It is their loss, how can they expect any volunteer to put up with that treatment. I am delighted you have found the tuck shop enjoyable.

Ann x

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Hello Cath.

Count me among your supporters. To go out and stay involved with something is very commendable. Have you written to the local paper or your local regional TV news channel? (just an idea). You might want to just put it down to experience and move on! We know our so-called civilised society is full of half-wits. Oh the ignorance! I always said if someone is being unreasonable I’ll vote with my feet. (And get someone to carry me out!)

Best wishes, Steve x

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An email to head office might just stop them treating other volunteers in this appalling manner. Your new position running the tuck shop sounds much better. I have a motto and try at all times to stick with it…It’s nice to be nice…I simply don’t understand anyone who treats others in a disrespectful way.

Send a cyber two fingered salute their way.

Keep smiling chick.

Jan x

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Thank you Everyone for your support. I really enjoyed your replies. I was very upset and hurt but had a giggle last week when I went in with my cousin to browse, only the manager and assistant manager were on duty and snowed under. They’re crying out for volunteers and offered to let me work two hours instead of three. I smiled and said Thanks, but No Thanks. It’s a shame as it’s a good local cause but once bitten you run!!! I’m much happier as I’m not as tired as I was getting and don’t need to spend Wednesdays recovering after my Tuesday shift.

I’m not bothering taking it any further as the manager is married to the director of the charity but if anyone asks why I’ve left I tell them. A few of my friends have had to be begged not to inflict harm on the managers though. I can’t deal with stress any more and the comment about me causing more work for those I worked with has cut deeply. I don’t like being made to feel like a burden on anyone.

I need something to make me continue to feel useful having been working from the age of 15. Being retired and consequently losing my registration as a nurse, especially as it happened two months after I got my degree as a nurse mentor was a huge blow and then you all know how it feels to apply for benefits and be made to feel like a scrounger and fraud made it even harder.

But as you can see, one door closes but another opens. I’ve been on the committee for the youth club for years, used to go on camping trips etc as a volunteer and loved it. My only stress now is trying to keep up with the sums involved in 7 - 11 year olds trying to get the most out of a pound on sweeties. Luckily I encourage them to help with the maths as my brain has holes in it. I can cope with that kind of stress, if only that was all we had to cope with eh?

Take care and thanks again for your support, you’re a lovely group of people.

Cath x

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Nothing to add other than sending you a huge hug I can’t believe that attitude, so wrong

Sonia xx

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Thanks Sonia x

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Their loss, your gain.

Best of luck.

Ben

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I can’t believe they treated you so disgustingly. Good deeds seem to so often bite you on the rear.

well done for dusting yourself off and finding the tuck shop job. Sorry you’ve had such a rotten time Cath,

take care of yourself,

Nina x

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Hello Cath,

Iv’e just seen your message, and it made me feel both sad and angry at the same time. Unfortunately thats people for you …but they are obviously doing the wrong job. I feel really hurt for you infact i’m with your friends on this… if i lived near you id go in with Frazer and Molly (autistic daughter) we’d show them!!! i could have brilliant time “accidently” running into the rails with my power chair and we’d drop crisps all over the floor, Hoovering up ??? they’d be at it all night… think of the mess we could cause!!!

I’m glad you can giggle again.

Your other job sounds fantastic, but i’m with you on the holes in the brain… mine was never brilliant but now I dread Isabelle asking for help with maths homework.

Love Michelle x

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Thanks guys. Michelle I think your idea is excellent! It’s such a pity my dad’s scooter won’t go into my car or I’d be dashing off to do the deed myself. I’m also amazed at how disrespectful she was. I’d have expected being reprimanded for not completing a job if I was a paid employee but the fact that I was giving my time and energy freely, and had been honest about my physical limitations from the start makes it worse. Hell, if I was capable of cleaning a shop I wouldn’t be employing someone to help me at home once a week and I definitely wouldn’t be on benefits, I could have had a well paying job.

They’ve got adverts all over looking for volunteers, and as you’ve said, it’s their loss and now with the holiday season here they’ll feel the loss of anyone having resigned (I’m not the only one to have left recently). They’ll definitely be earning every penny they take home, Now who’s making the work harder for everyone? Not me! Proof that what you sow you’ll reap!

Cath x

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Stay strong Cath ((((hugs))))

Those people in that shop need to remember…what goes around…comes around.

Pam x

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Cath, firstly I’m really sorry that you had this bad experience, and hope that you do get time for a little ‘quality control’ testing with the sweets, but I just wanted to say that I do volunteer work and they have been exceptionally accommodating, and I feel I have benefitted greatly as a result … just for anyone out there who may be considering volunteer work, don’t be put off.

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Slug I’m with you on that. I just found employers who didn’t want to accommodate my difficulties. I need to be useful and that’s a reason I now help the youth club. I live in a tiny rural village where we lost the funding for the junior youth club. There was a need for it as we have 30 kids on the books after 3 weeks running. I’d been involved in trying to reopen it and as we’re only allowed 10 kids per adult and can only afford to employ 2 youth workers I’m the extra adult in the building, thus preventing us needing to turn kids away, and although I’m no good with activities I’ve found my niche giving the youngsters their sugar rushes. Voila I’m useful and appreciated!!

I’d think most people would be so grateful to have people volunteering that they’d be accommodating. I would recommend anyone able to volunteer to do anything to go for it, it’s extremely rewarding.

Cath x

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