In recognition of National Volunteers week, (1-7 June) we have invited Barbara, one of our loyal supporters, to share her experience with us.
Barbara explained that her family has always kept cats, and her last two were adopted from the Shelter. Bonnie and Clyde were siblings so she had to take them both on because she couldn’t bear to leave one behind. Clyde was the boss, but when he died at the age of 16, Bonnie rose to the occasion and became queen of all she surveyed. Bonnie was a great companion to Barbara’s husband when he became ill and the family christened her his ‘Night Nurse’. Sadly, Bonnie died a month before her husband passed.
Retired and on her own, Barbara decided to volunteer at the Shelter. She couldn’t face losing another pet but missed having a cat around, so volunteering was the perfect opportunity to have contact with the animals she loves.
Barbara, who has been volunteering for the last 4 years, told us that the when she arrives at the Shelter, the first job of the day is to sort out the washing, and start cleaning the emptied litter trays. Along with other volunteers, she is then allocated a cat room to clean. This can be quite interesting because the cats are usually friendly and pleased to see people, and are always helpful with the cleaning duties!
Barbara told me that “the permanent staff at the Shelter are knowledgeable and give guidance to the volunteers and are obviously dedicated animal lovers”.
Although Barbara is often upset to see so many cats that are frightened or ill when they come to the Shelter, she is always delighted to see them improve in health and get adopted. And the sight of a new mum with kittens in Maternity is always a pleasure.
Barbara is very impressed with the level of training and support that volunteers get and the comprehensive written guidance for all duties. As she explained, “Nothing is left to chance and the staff are always around to ask”.
Barbara volunteers for just one morning a week at the Shelter, but as she explains “working at the Shelter has been a new experience to me. The staff are so dedicated to the work they do. Their attention to detail and routine is commendable”.
As well as being a loyal supporter to the Shelter, Barbara has also helped us to run our retail outlet.
“When the Shelter shop opened, I started work there for one session a week. Having never worked in a shop before was a new experience. There are so many jobs to do including sorting numerous bags of donations and deciding which items can be sold and which should be recycled. The clothes we sell are all washed or steamed before being priced up and displayed on the shop floor”.
Her work at both our shop and Shelter and has given Barbara new skills, such as how to use the till. She describes herself as a ‘people person’, and is happy to have had the opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life. And her faith in human nature is restored when she sees how generous the public can be with their donations.
Barbara summed up her experience by saying that “I’m pleased to be a small part in this Charity knowing that I am helping our Furry Friends”
If you are interested in volunteering, why not check out our volunteering page to see if there are any jobs that you would like to do.