accessibility & help

Volunteer in your local Red Cross shop – gain confidence – get your dream job!

For immediate release: Thursday, July 28, 2011
For further information: Rebecca McIlhone

Contact number: 0117 3012624 / 07525 128297

Nineteen-year-old optician’s receptionist Paula Cocks says she only got her dream job thanks to the confidence she gained while volunteering in her local Red Cross shop.

Paula, from Dawlish, was a shy 17-year-old fresh out of college when she started volunteering at the Dawlish Red Cross shop two years ago but now she is a happy and confident 19-year-old who loves her job meeting and greeting customers at Bill Opticians in the town.

Paula still volunteers at the Red Cross shop, at 35 The Strand, Dawlish, once a week on Thursdays, on her day off - such is the camaraderie she has with her fellow volunteers and manager Wendy Chadwick. And she is appealing to other potential volunteers to get in touch and find out what volunteering could be like for them, as the shop is desperately in need of new recruits following the retirement of some dedicated long-term supporters.

Paula says: “I’ve always been a really shy person. I wanted some experience and wanted to build my confidence and I saw the sign in the window and thought I’d apply.

“The shop always seemed very friendly and it was a nice open place and I was looking for a front of house shop job. I was pretty nervous at first. I was doing tagging and things like that at the back of the shop, but as I got more confidence, Wendy taught me to use the till and build up from there. Volunteering has made a big difference to my life. It’s made me more open and less shy. I’ve made really good friends with everyone who works here. It’s like a part of my family.

“I think volunteering was a really important factor in me getting my job. I work in an optician as a front of house receptionist. I really love my new job but I still volunteer on my day off. I couldn’t leave really. I love it too much.”

Shop manager Wendy Chadwick says: “I’m so proud of Paula and so pleased we were able to help her get one step closer to achieving her dream. We’re desperately in need of more volunteers like her so I would encourage anyone who’s been inspired by her story to get in touch.”

Volunteers are given full training and asked to do at least one four-hour shift per week but the hours and days are flexible and easy to fit in around other commitments. To find out more, call Wendy on: 01626 862067.


For more information on the British Red Cross please visit:

Notes to editors

If you would like to arrange to take a picture of Paula at the shop, please get in touch with Rebecca McIlhone on 0117 3012624 or 07525 128297. Paula works in the shop on Thursdays.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Related Tags: