From 3rd - 9th June it's National Volunteers Week

We're showcasing our very own NEXT volunteers

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to society and help others, which in turn makes you feel great. Giving is one of the 10 Keys Of Happier Living and can be incredibly rewarding.

It's so important to take a moment to recognise and thank everyone who volunteers to help out in their communities or work with charities and other good causes. 

Let's meet some of our colleagues at NEXT who are kind enough to devote their precious time to others

Julie Parris - HO Supporting Desford In Bloom

From June to October each year I help water the hanging baskets and flower displays around the village of Desford to celebrate Desford In Bloom.   I love helping out in my community to make our village look fabulous. 

Graham Barnes - HO Rugby Coach  

My dad was always a big inspiration for me as he was a rugby coach and chairman of the Hinckley Rugby Club mini section.  When my son joined the club aged 6, I offered to help out as a former player and have since achieved my RFU level 2 coaching badge and have continued for 6 years.  At the start it was satisfying to see my son enjoying the game but it's progressed more into a real love for seeing the kids i help to coach develop into great players and great people off the field also.  It always seems quite daunting to volunteer but I would say to anyone who is thinking of it that the love you get from the people you have helped and to see their success and growth just because you've given up a few hours a week makes it all worthwhile.  I think this applies to all form of volunteering, whether it be sport, or working in a shelter or food bank or giving lifts to people who struggle to get out, knowing you have improved someone elses's life at a relatively small cost to your own seems like a no brainer to me. 

Marakesh Jarvis - Online Young Leader Diabetes UK

I am drawn to volunteering as it is my responsibility as a privileged individual to help make a change in society. It is my way of giving back and specifically as a diabetic who has been diagnosed since the age of 12, I am able to support other young people and be that person I wish I had growing up.  

 I am a young leader for Diabetes UK. This means I support other young people with diabetes in the midlands area and also join peer support sessions to support young people, their parents and careers. We communicate with healthcare professionals and help raise money for the charity by hosting events.  Personally volunteering is my way of giving back. It also makes me feel part of the Diabetes community and bring me closer to other people who are battling the illness. I get to meet like-minded individuals and learn a lot from experienced people in the field. The biggest blessing is being that person for other young people to lean on.   I would 100% recommended volunteering to other people. 

Every little helps and you won't realise how much you can support a cause until you start actively doing it, you can surprise yourself. It is the most rewarding thing to do in the world and it will make you feel better for how you spend your time.

Peter Clayton - HO Junior Parkrun 

My family and I set up a junior parkrun over in Hucknall (Nottingham) back in 2016.  We all volunteer pretty much every week and carry out one of the many roles which make this weekly event the huge success that it is. 

Ben Bell - HO   Ambulance Service

I have previous experience of needing emergency medical care. My drive to prove emergency medical help stems from a motorbike accident in 2012, where I wasn't expected to live, let alone walk again. After miraculously making a full recovery (and subsequently procrastinating for 7 years!), I made the decision to give something back to the community that saved my life and I've not looked back since. I've since realised how addictive helping people can be and regularly give up my evenings and weekends to volunteer with the ambulance service and with a medical charity in Africa.  For the last 5 years, I have been a solo first responder with the ambulance service, also working as an EMT and trainer for local community responders. I have so far volunteered just over 5,000 hours and have attended around 950 calls on behalf of 999 and 111, as well as taken over running my local first responder scheme, looking after a team of nearly 20 other medical staff.

I have also just returned from spending several weeks treating kids with malaria, screening for chronic illness and working in a hospital A&E and clinic in Malawi, looking after some of the poorest people in the world and giving them free healthcare that otherwise would not exist. I plan to go back again later this year and spend some more time there. I am also currently trying to fundraise £30,000 to expand the clinic so that we can treat more people.

I love that I get to meet all kinds of people and actually make an actual tangible difference when people are having what is potentially the worst day of their lives. Knowing that a couple of hours of my time can make a literal life and death difference, or even just make a bad day slightly better is absolutely worthwhile and a brilliant use of my downtime.

We all have days where we feel like we have achieved nothing, but being able to proactively go out and turn those days into something meaningful and help people in a definitive way can turn a bad day into a great one.

It's a genuinely life changing experience. With the type of voluntary work I do, the more I put in, the more I get out of it, getting to meet and treat people from all walks of life and be part of people's stories.

If people are wanting to join our voluntary ambulance care programme, we are currently recruiting too! Also, if people would be interested in donating to the new clinic in Malawi, drop me a message, we are desperate to get this clinic open this year and need all the help we can get!

Suzanne Crane - HO Community Volunteer

I volunteer because I've seen what people taking part in the activity gain from people like me giving up their time.   I've volunteered with Rainbows (younger girls, before brownies) primary school committee, secondary school committee, cricket committee, local village committee, and summer school.

When I volunteer my time, I  hope I'm helping make someone happy because essentially when people volunteer they're doing it becasue the group doesn't have the funds to pay people.  Therefore if I volunteer others I'm enabling others to take part in the activity. 

I absolutely recommend volunteering, if you're helping someone - what more could you want? 

Margaret Fraser - Retail   Trussel Trust 

For the last few years I have volunteered at the Renfrewshire food bank for the Trussell Trust.

I sort out all of the donations and make up packs for the people who have to use food bank

It's the most rewarding thing I do and I love it.

Michael Wakefield - NDL Walking Football Lead

I volunteer my time every Saturday morning to lead our walking football team.  I have done this for the last 9 years.  We are a team made up of all age groups from age 16 - 65 and we are all shapes and sizes.  There are around 18 of us in total and we love it.  The team is part of Armthorpe Welfare Juniors. 

 It's great to get out for an hour on a Saturday after working all week.  It feels great to give something back, we are like a big family, we have fun and lots of laughs. 

Craig Parker - HO        Junior Football 

Without volunteering so much wouldn’t get done as frequently the organisations/charities

operate on a donation or non-profit basis. It not only helps them but the other volunteers as

there’s a sense of belonging/feeling that there are still many people willing to give their time

for others and not expect anything in return.

I manage a team for Groby Juniors football club, I assisted last season but took over this

year as the previous coach had to manage his other sons team. I also help the academy

teaching the younger children who aren’t part of a team.

I’ve also helped the local Scout group repair their flat roof a couple of times, the hut hosts

both boys and girls activity groups (4 age groups each gender).

The sense that I can give my time to something worthwhile, yes they are directly in benefit of

my children, but these organisations frequently don’t have enough parents step forward and

I don’t want to be one of them. Without volunteers they wouldn’t exist.

There’s definitely a personal satisfaction that you’ve helped out something that benefits a

number of others. Your time is well spent if you can help something positive to continue

doing good work. Hopefully others will see and be inspired to try themselves, it’s always

better to spread positivity and giving than negativity and selfishness.

Craig Barton - HO    Scout Leader 

I think it's important to do things for others and not just for yourself. I don't know where this value came from or when it became important to me, I just know it is. It's all too easy as you get older for your world to shrink and get set in your ways. I think volunteering helps to challenge this by meeting new people, learning new skills and getting out into the world.

I provide some IT support to the Broughton Astley Volunteer Group who do some really great work in our community. Scouting is my main passion though and I'm a Leader for the Leire & Dunton Scout group in the South Leicestershire district.

With Scouting, we are generally outdoors doing something practical and exciting. Camping, cooking on open fire, hiking and building things are a given, but we also do things you might not expect, like staging our annual panto. It's never boring!

I get to make connections and amazing memories with people; I think that's really the point to life. My Scouts (aged 10 to 14) are such interesting individuals and it's such a privilege to get to know them. I get to teach them skills they can use for the rest of their lives and help them to find confidence in being themselves. Scouts is such an amazing and supportive environment without judgment. It's help me build my confidence as well and you'll often find me acting the fool and singing campfire songs at the top of my lungs! Also, it gets me outdoors, in the fresh air and the sun (sometimes rain) being active and that's critical for my physical and mental health.

Find the right type of volunteering and it becomes a passion; something you live for. There's nothing quite like that feeling.

Christine Atkinson -Retail
Hospital Navigator

I work at Next store 0339 - Clifton, Blackpool. 

I have been volunteering at my local hospital since 2016, and I love it.

My main role is Navigator.  I tell people where to go, (in the nicest possible way). I also escort school children who come for demonstrations at the hospital. 

Karen Garner - Retail    Womens Refuge

I volunteer at a women’s refuge, I work alongside 2 ladies who are

Wow is  non profit making charity which work on empowering women to know their worth as a valued member of community.

Once a month women are invited to try different activities like a belly dance taster session which I lead, sound shower, meditation session , yoga, wreath making, Indian cooking session.

I love being part of Wow.  Once a month wow go to a women’s refuge.  Last time we did Reiki on the ladies. I love volunteering as it’s great to see what a difference you can make to people lives.

Steve Hack - HO
Community Radio Show

I do volunteering at 103 The Eye which is the community radio show for Melton and surrounding areas - it's a not for profit organisation so it's for the love of it.   

I've been at The Eye since 2013 as a presenter, I present Saturday Breakfast and a pre recorded show on Thursday nights as well as looking after the Facebook page, recording interviews with the local football clubs and deputising on the weekday breakfast show when work allows.  

I've done the shows at home since Covid which has actually helped Next as I use my home studio for recording the weekly round ups for the stores and the Wordcasts we do with the magazine. 

Cheryl Doy - Retail   
Accessible Arts

I volunteer twice a week in the evenings, when my shifts allow, with an inclusive dance and accessible arts group. Run by an amazing young lady called Lauren. The group is called No Limits.

I am involved with the British Sign Language signing Choir on one evening and the inclusive dance on another.  These 2 groups are for all ages and abilities. 

Lauren is the director and instructor, and she has many volunteers who help within all her groups and sessions some of us are involved with more than one group.

This last weekend we had a celebration day for our community making people aware of what is available for all disabilities. This was at our local forum library in Norwich. 

The photo is some of our volunteers and Lauren.

Zannah Doherty - Retail
Wardrobe Foundation 

I help out at the Wardrobe Foundation.  It's a volunteer led Community Interest Company (CIC) providing clothing that's been donated to women in desperate need of clothing support accross Wessex (Dorset and Hampshire) the clothes are personally chosen for each woman based in their size and personal requirements and are packed in bags made from the clothes that are not reusable. 

I also collect clothes from my colleagues at Next to donate to the Wardrobe Foundation. I always have a very good response from them.  I'd love to spend more time with them when I'm not working. I volunteer because I really enjoy it and it's so rewarding. You are giving something back and helping so many people who wouldn't get help if it wasn't for volunteers.

Jess Bickerton - NDL   
Bookmark Reading 

I started my 6 weeks working with a young child, through Bookmark Reading Charity, to help inspire and grow their confidence in reading.  In just a few minutes into my first call with my young reader, I was reminded just why I signed up in the first place.  

Their excitement shone through and it was amazing to see them tackle some great stories.  I can't wait for my next session wit them to see them continue to grow! 

 Sharing my own passion for reading with young children, to help encourage and inspire them, is something so incredibly special to me.

For more Opportunities to Volunteer see our Giving Site