After 18 years of volunteering at a Bedfordshire homelessness charity, Marjorie Coleman is encouraging others to get involved in local causes.
Marjorie has volunteered at Bedfordshire homelessness charity, Emmaus Village Carlton, since it opened 18 years ago.
Now 85, she is one of 38 volunteers who regularly give up their time to help run the charity’s large Home Store and bistro which raise vital funds. She is now calling on other local people to do the same.
Speaking about her experience, Marjorie said, “I first got involved back in 2002, just after I retired. I didn’t like being at home all the time, so I decided to go along and give it a try.
“I now volunteer for two days each week, along with my husband David who will soon be 90. I’ve watched the charity grow and help so many people, and I definitely feel like I get more out of it than I put in.”
Emmaus Village Carlton supports 42 formerly homeless people by giving them accommodation, meaningful work experience, funded training and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives.
Funds are raised through the popular Home Store charity shop and bistro near Carlton.
Emmaus volunteers often work alongside the previously homeless people being supported by the charity, as they also help to run the Home Store and bistro.
Marjorie said, “I like to meet new people so I enjoy serving customers, but what I really enjoy is having the chance to get to know some of those being helped by Emmaus who also work on the shop floor.
“I’ve found it fascinating over the years because everyone has their own story to tell and each one is different.
“The best moments for me are when I hear about someone being supported to move on from Emmaus; it feels good to know they’re ready to start again and are hopefully feeling positive about their future.”
Marjorie believes her volunteering has brought many benefits.
“Emmaus Village Carlton is a friendly place to be; I’d definitely recommend volunteering here if you have some spare time.
“I’ve met so many new people and made quite a few lasting friendships. Some people volunteer for just a couple of hours each week but those hours really do mean something – it feels like we’re all pulling together to help so even a small amount of time can make a difference.
“If I wasn’t volunteering then I would miss out on that sense of community, meeting other people and of course, supporting such a worthwhile cause. If I ever have to stop, I shall miss it a lot.”
You can find out more about volunteering at Emmaus Village Carlton at their website www.emmaus.org.uk/village-carlton/support-us/volunteer-with-us or by calling 01234 720826.