Stop press – a new Mind shop is opening on Walworth Road in Southwark! We chatted to our Area Manager Toni York about what she loves most about working in Mind Retail, and about opportunities for volunteering in stores.
How did you get to be in your current role?
I started working for Mind five years ago. Mind provide their store employees with the opportunity to move their way up the retail ladder so before long, after I had finished my retail training, I got to be in my role as Manager in Bletchley. Before this I had no retail experience so I had to learn quickly, but I loved it.
What’s the best thing about Mind shops and running a Mind store?
Working with volunteers is definitely the best thing about running a Mind shop.
Watching people develop new skills is so rewarding. Some volunteers can start working with us with low self-esteem and not a lot of confidence, but the Mind retail environment allows them to steadily gain self-assurance which is so fantastic to see. Volunteers are usually working the till so they are interacting with customers, providing great customer service and strengthening their interpersonal skills. Developing good communication is often very rewarding and it can be useful for things like future job interviews.
What’s it like working as a Mind retail volunteer?
No day is the same and the atmosphere is always really positive. People are there because they want to be and you get such a strong sense of this in the shops. We like to keep close relationships with our volunteers and we operate as kind of a work-family. It’s very different from other retail jobs.
For me it is really important to understand what people want to get out of volunteering so that we can link it to what they’re interested in. For example fashion students can come in and gain really valuable work experience in retail and get to know the ins and outs of the everyday operations of a shop. As a volunteer you will be listened to and we will always try to incorporate things you enjoy into the work.
Volunteering with us is definitely a two way street. You provide us with help and your time and we can hopefully provide you with support. You might be able to improve your social skills or get a good work reference.
Who comes to volunteer in a Mind Shop?
We get volunteers from a range of backgrounds. Some are Duke of Edinburgh candidates, some are referred from a job centre. We welcome everyone and we are very grateful for any time our volunteers can contribute.
How do new volunteers get involved?
Volunteers can register their interest here.
Our head office will direct you to your nearest store!
What is the best way to donate to a Mind store?
The best way to donate is to drop them off in person at our stores.
Interested in working with us? Check out our vacancies in our store and offices.
Megan joined the team as a fundraiser in 2017 from a background in journalism, editorial and retail. She now manages L&S Mind’s website, social media and grants fundraising activity.