Receptionist for a Charity

At about the same time as I volunteered in the second charity shop I also volunteered to work for the Trussell Trust.  This again involved filling in an application form and giving references.  I thought that I would be offered a task with the food-bank but was actually offered several positions, most of which were at their shops and I decided another shop would just confuse me!  I was also offered the task of being receptionist and as this seemed like a new challenge I went for a “taster” and decided that this was something I would like to try.

So, I now volunteer there as receptionist one morning a week.  This is probably the most interesting and challenging thing that I do at the moment.

The Trussell Trust is known mostly for its food-bank network, but it also does work in Bulgaria and with the local community.  The website describes the work they do.  The people who originally set it up went to my church, so I can remember some of the early days, but it is now much bigger and has changed quite a lot, although it is still a Christian organisation.

As receptionist, I never know who will be on the phone and it is my job to answer it and pass them on to (hopefully) the right person.  It can be someone needing food or wanting to know how to access it; someone wondering how to set up a food-bank; someone wanting to volunteer or offering furniture for the shops, just as examples.  It is also my job to greet people who come through the door and again there can be a large variation.  Some have come to an arranged meeting with a member of the staff, some are the usual volunteers (some of whom have social or physical problems), sometimes it is a person bringing food and recently work experience students and the lady from Tescos about the food collection.   I try to be cheerful and welcoming and get them to sign in!

When I am not either on the phone or welcoming people, I am given administrative jobs to do.  This has been quite varied and has included entering information on databases, cutting and folding birthday cards, doing some laminating, stuffing envelopes, counting tea bags into bags of 40 (!) and phoning to get references for new volunteers.  I am not always kept busy, but usually have something to do.

I really like the variety of things to do and the variety of people to meet, although I have had one or two distressing phone calls – but that is what the charity is about.

Would I recommend it?  YES – this fulfils the criteria for things to do – meeting people, providing a useful role, filling time….

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