Skip to content

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week: Spotlight on Esther Bray!

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.

Today is Day #2, and we’re delighted to spotlight our volunteering super hero, Esther Bray! Pictured below with a festive – albeit unseasonable – homemade wreath, read on to learn more about her volunteering experiences – at The Pavilion Stores and Cafe and beyond!

What’s your name?

Esther Bray

What’s your volunteering role?

Working behind the counter once a week.

What’s your favourite thing about being a volunteer?

Getting to know other people in the village better.

What does a typical shift pattern per week look like for you?

A regular 3 hour Friday morning shift.

What does a typical shift look like for you?

Friday morning is great because there is lots to do. When I arrive the manager has already opened up so I help with checking fridge/freezer temps and sell by dates. Putting out the cakes in the cafe area. Then we receive a large wholesale delivery from Youings which is checked off and put away throughout the morning. We also have fruit and veg deliveries from Edds, Meat from John May, Milk and Bread from J&R. In between this, customers come in for groceries and to visit the cafe. There is always something to do and the managers are super organised and we work together. The morning ends with my replacement taking over at 11.30am and I usually buy something before I leave.

Why did you want to get involved with volunteering in the first place?

To give back to the community and support the pavilion to ensure its success. I also thought it sounded fun and would be a good way to meet others in the village I had not yet met.

How do you think your fellow volunteers would describe you?

Oh that is a difficult question. Probably chatty and always imparting stories about my children and what’s going on at our farm.

Are you involved in any other type of volunteering activity?

I am a school governor at West Exmoor Federation. I am on the PCC at Christchurch Parracombe and my husband and I help lead ‘self led’ services.

How do you balance volunteering alongside other commitments?

I chose a regular 3 hour slot which fits in with my other commitments and I have found it to be sustainable. I come off the rota during the school summer holidays because I know that would make life too crazy during that time.

Do you have a favourite memory / story from volunteering?

I love it when visitors come into the shop and say ‘wow, isn’t this lovely, I wish we had a shop like this in our village at home’. It makes me realise how blessed we are.

What’s your #1 top tip for someone who is considering volunteering with the Pavilion Shop and Café?

If you possibly can, do it. Choose a time that fits in with your lifestyle and give it a try. You are given so much support and guidance and you will find you get back far more than you give.

What’s your local ‘top tip’ for holiday makers visiting the area?

Ask anyone in the shop or around the village for their favourite thing to do. The wealth of knowledge in the area is vast.

What’s your favourite thing about living in or near Parracombe?

The friendly community who are so caring and encouraging. The beautiful scenery. And the Pavilion Shop and Café of course which takes our community provision to a new level.

A massive thank you again to the brilliant Esther for sharing her volunteering story with us.

Feeling inspired?

If you’d like to join Esther 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *