It’s Volunteers’ Week so we’re celebrating some of Oxfam Scotland’s great volunteers.

Michelle Layden is a volunteer in our Bookshop on Glasgow’s Victoria Road and here she tells us how she started volunteering and what she gets out of it.

“I have been volunteering with Oxfam for 6 years. Back then I had post-natal depression and agoraphobia; I was having trouble leaving my own home and had to have a home help come to take me out. Someone suggested volunteering to me as my local area is full of charity shops and I chose the Oxfam bookshop as I love books and I had heard of the charity. I went in and asked the manager for an application form, filled it out and handed it in. Volunteering at my local Oxfam was a chance for me to get out of the house and forget about my worries. There are other volunteers there that are
unique and have their own stories too.

I started from the bottom and learned about things from how to work tills to pricing stock, now I can grade items and do banking. I currently run our shop’s Online Shop and our Comic Con (comic book convention) stall; this may be hard work but it is also something I would never have done before had it not been for Oxfam. It is rewarding going to events and having a good time while raising money for a great cause like Oxfam. I have learned numerous skills at Oxfam and I am now in paid employment. Even though I now have a paying job, I still can’t leave Oxfam. I love the work I
do here and without it I may still be stuck in my own home. I like being able to go in and lose myself in the online and Comic Con stock. It is also a great place to make new friends and our customers like to stop in for a chat as well.

Volunteering at Oxfam is one of the best things I have ever done, knowing that all my hard work helps so many others. My theory is that I may not be able to contribute much money to Oxfam but I can give my time and I can use it to do everything I can to help make that little bit more. I would really encourage people to volunteer and have had friends do so in the past. The work of every volunteer at Oxfam is what allows them to keep on helping others all over the world. That’s true whether you can only spare a few hours a week or a few days.”

Eddy Steele, the manager of the Oxfam Bookshop on Victoria Road in Glasgow’s Southside, said: “Michelle has been a great asset to the shop and Oxfam, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge of online selling which has been very beneficial to the shop’s online offer. Michelle is a very committed volunteer and it’s great to have enthusiastic people like her helping us in our important work fighting poverty.”

You can find out more about how to volunteer with Oxfam here. Photo: Michelle running a stall at a Comic Con event in Glasgow recently.