Today marks one year since we cut the ribbon to our new charity shop in Bakewell located on Matlock Street and with that we have opened the doors to enthusiastic volunteers who support us in raising essential funds for our services.

The popular high street store, alongside our four other stores, are responsible for bringing in over a quarter of the money needed for the charity to provide free care and services to local patients and families.

With new volunteers come new stories and for Bakewell volunteers, Denise and Jane, they found a new friendship. These two lovely volunteers found kindred spirits in one another when they chose to volunteer soon after the shop opening.

Denise and Jane started volunteering together on a Wednesday morning in the shop. It soon became apparent that they had a lot in common. Both retired teachers and both looking for that much needed structure in their day to day lives which their professions had provided.

Denise commented: ‘I am very much a free spirit and have travelled all over the world teaching in multiple countries, but I was reaching a point in my life where I knew I needed to settle and take things a little easier. The pandemic hit and before I knew it my travels came to a grinding halt. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason and for me this was a chance to take stock and redirect my energy in a different way.

‘I had enquired to volunteer for Helen’s Trust a few years back, but I wasn’t too sure at the time what volunteering role I could commit to. When the Bakewell shop opened I saw it as a sign that I could try again, and this time I found a new passion. I have gained so many skills from working in the shop; from feeling empowered to be creative in my shop displays to learning how to research special donated items that we received in the shop to sell.

‘I thought when my travels stopped that the unique stories and interesting people I got to meet along the way would go amiss. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. My favourite part of volunteering is interacting with the customers. Each and every one of them has a story to tell, and I see the very best in humanity through them.

‘I absolutely love working with Jane who has become a good friend since we started working together. We have so many laughs!’

Jane began her volunteering journey at a similar time to Denise and found that taking herself out of her comfort zone has given her a new purpose in her retirement.

Jane said ‘I’m originally from Liverpool and retired from teaching Spanish and French in July 2020. I live in Bradwell, Hope Valley, with my husband Andrew who retired as a lawyer in the first lockdown of 2020. I started volunteering in May last year. I love retirement, but I also love a little routine in my life. I started volunteering at Bakewell shop on a Wednesday morning, but Denise and I enjoyed working together so much that we decided to extend our day to a full day- we love meeting new people and getting to know our regulars so feel free to pop into the shop and say hello to us!

‘Advice for volunteering would be, go ahead and try it. It is such an enjoyable, worthwhile thing to do. You meet great people, and the rewarding feeling of supporting a local charity like Helen’s Trust can feel so impactful to your overall well-being.

‘I have been so impressed with how the shop and charity is regarded among the general public. They love the premises, and have great respect for the work that takes place. They support the charity with enthusiasm, and that rubs off on the people who work there, who I hope reflect that enthusiasm and commitment.

‘Denise and I have great fun on Wednesdays, we both look forward to it, and have forged a real friendship. It’s great to feel I’m helping in some way, it’s important to look out beyond yourself and what can easily become a “cosy” existence in retirement.’

Find out more about volunteering in our hospice shops in Bakewell, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.