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Celebrating Volunteers’ Week: Spotlight on Carey Hides!

Monday 3rd June – Sunday 9th June is Volunteers’ Week, and here in Parracombe, we wanted to recognise and celebrate the occasion by sharing a spotlight on the people that make a real difference in our community – our brilliant team of volunteers!

The celebration starts on the first Monday in June every year. It’s a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector, and society as a whole.

We’re kicking off the campaign with a focus on our very own Carey, pictured below with a spider on her head – only right that we share her volunteering story via the ‘web’…

What’s your name?
Carey Hides

What’s your volunteering role?
Volunteer Shop Assistant

What’s your favourite thing about being a volunteer?
Adding structure to life, strengthening existing, and forging new friendships.

What does a typical shift pattern per week look like for you?
One regular 3 hour shift, plus up to 2 extra, shorter shifts if required. This is not a requirement, but I am happy doing it. One shift a month is enough if that is all the time available.

What does a typical shift look like for you?
My shift is an opening shift, from 8.30 – 11.30am, which is my preferred time of day. We carry out all necessary checks and cleaning routines, check stock levels, place and take delivery of orders. Plus, obviously, we serve customers in the shop and the café area. That is the official description. What we also do is talk (a lot), drink teas and coffees (a lot) and muck about and laugh (even more).

Why did you want to get involved with volunteering in the first place?
I still have my own business, as a holiday provider, but I also have time to do some voluntary work. I have done many things in the village but this is one that I particularly enjoy, and I was involved in the project from conception.

Even my reluctant OH accidentally volunteers now – tending the plants and being the local dogs’ best friend (he prefers them to us).

How do you think your fellow volunteers would describe you?
No idea. Possibly ‘usually enthusiastic, often inept’

Are you involved in any other type of volunteering activity?
Other projects within the village – Staging Events, The Parracombe Prize Book Competition.

How do you balance volunteering alongside other commitments?
It’s no different to balancing life at every stage – career, children, caring responsibilities. We all do it, almost without noticing. And whilst it is to be hoped a volunteer won’t let anyone down, there is always a backup if something urgent crops up.

Do you have a favourite memory / story from volunteering?
It probably sounds a bit too neat but I was recently moved to tears by a formerly vibrant lady, who very recently had a small stroke. She was hugely self-conscious about her speech, regardless of the fact that her daughter kept reassuring her. She felt comfortable in our space for her first trip out. And we were able to reassure her that her speech was absolutely fine. We do meet so many people who might otherwise see nobody.

What’s your #1 top tip for someone who is considering volunteering with the Pavilion Shop and Café?
All of the above! You might feel as though you are dragging yourself to work on a dark, cold winter morning but I can guarantee you will go home with a spring in your step.

What’s your local ‘top tip’ for holiday makers visiting the area?
Follow your nose. On foot or by bus or car you will immediately be overwhelmed by beauty – moorland, rivers, cliffs, pretty villages, proper seaside towns.

What’s your favourite thing about living in or near Parracombe?
The community. We were made very welcome when we arrived some years ago, knowing nobody, and we now try to do the same when people arrive.

Huge thank you to the lovely Carey for getting involved with our campaign and for everything she does for our village.

Feeling inspired?

If you’d like to join Carey and the many others in our thriving team of volunteers, don’t delay!

You can access the volunteer pack and learn more about what’s involved via the Volunteer With Us page or just pop into the shop and speak to anyone on shift about volunteering.

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