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If there’s one thing National Volunteer Week (May 9-15) highlights, it is that these dedicated, community-minded people are the backbone of charities like Endeavour Foundation.
The Endeavour Recycled Clothing store at Penrith certainly proves this – just ask volunteer Greg Nicolson.
Greg started volunteering at the store as he saw it as a challenge. It certainly has been challenging, as the store’s first week proved.
After great efforts to ready the store for its scheduled opening on December 17, volunteers were adding finishing touches the day before when a freak hailstorm flooded the store and caused $20,000 damage.
The devoted volunteers then joined staff in working tirelessly to clean the store and managed to open to the public just two weeks later.
“It wasn’t the challenge I was expecting,” said Greg.
Greg also started volunteering at the store as he wanted to be part of Endeavour Foundation, which provides opportunities to people with a disability, including Greg’s two sons.
Owen, 20, and Philip, 19, receive supported employment and specialised training opportunities through Endeavour Foundation Industries at Mt Druitt.
“This is Endeavour Foundation’s first Endeavour Recycled Clothing store in New South Wales. I see this store as part of Endeavour Foundation’s expansion and I wanted to be part of that,” Greg said.
Endeavour Recycled Clothing stores sell quality pre-loved garments, shoes, jewellery, bags and more, with all proceeds going to Endeavour Foundation.
Greg performs various duties at the store including customer service, visual merchandising, unpacking stock, emptying clothing from donation bins, driving off-site to pick up stock, banking and mailing.
“I’ve learnt quite a lot while being here, in terms of store retail,” Greg said.
“Things like steaming, tagging, customer relations and visual merchandising.”
Like many volunteers, Greg also donates his time elsewhere, volunteering at other local charities and youth groups.
Greg is currently unemployed and hopes his volunteer work and learning new skills will lead to employment.
In the meantime, Greg and his colleagues at Endeavour Recycled Clothing Penrith are calling for more volunteers.
“I’m down to volunteer two days a week but quite often I do more – we need more volunteers,” he said.
Along with helping make a difference to the lives of people with a disability, volunteering at Endeavour Recycled Clothing provides a great social outlet where you meet people every day and make friends in a great team environment.
“I like to know I’m helping and fulfilling a need in the community,” said Greg.
“But it’s nice to have this reason to get out of the house and socialise as well. It’s a great environment, you don’t need to be of any certain age and you can donate however much time you have available – it could be two hours or 10.”
Endeavour Recycled Clothing Penrith manager Denise Norbury said without volunteers, the store simply couldn’t operate as normal.
“Along with allowing us to open, having volunteers on board in the store creates a great environment,” Denise said.
“These are people who really want to help the community by donating not only their time but their skills and experience. Their happiness in being involved is quite infectious, so we all benefit.”
Volunteering with Endeavour Foundation also provides great fulfilment, as the organisation’s latest Volunteer Satisfaction Survey revealed.
Almost half of the organisation’s 1,200 volunteers were surveyed and gave an overall satisfaction of 8.6 out of 10 for volunteering with Endeavour Foundation.
To find out more about volunteering with Endeavour Foundation visit www.endeavour.com.au or call Endeavour Recycled Clothing Penrith on (02) 4722 3432.
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