How long have you been at the BHF?I’ve been working as a volunteer at the BHF Hornchurch shop for over 6 years.
What attracted you to the role?My dad had recently died of heart disease. The BHF was so supportive at the time by helping us understand what was happening. This made me realise that the work the BHF was doing could save lives like my Dad’s, and I wanted to give something back, in his memory.
How often do you volunteer?I volunteer each Monday and Tuesday. These days work best for me as I can fit this around running my own floristry & balloon business which is generally busier at the weekends with weddings and parties. I also work at a school as an invigilator throughout the year. I enjoy doing many different things!
What does a typical volunteering shift look like for you?It’s varied and that’s part of the appeal. On Mondays, I work in the shop. In the mornings, I’ll typically be working in the stock room: sorting, steaming and tagging clothes. After lunch, I’ll usually be on the shop floor serving customers at the till.
My mum volunteers with me on Tuesdays and this is when we go out in the car to do the collections because sometimes people have items they would like to donate but can’t bring into the shop themselves. Typically, we’ll do about four collections over the course of the morning, though sometimes if it’s a particularly big donation we might have to do a couple of runs as there is only so much we can fit in the car!
What’s your favourite thing about volunteering?However much time you give as a volunteer it’s very rewarding being part of a great team and that I get to meet such a mix of people. Everyone here is so friendly, we work hard but have lots of fun too. It’s also important to me to know that I am supporting a charity that I really believe in because I know that the time I give helps to fund research that can help more people like my Dad.
What’s your most memorable moment as a volunteer?It’s hard to pick a memorable moment, but I feel really proud to have been recognised as a one of the BHF’s heart heroes & to have been featured on a poster campaign to get more volunteer drivers, which was a great experience – even though I hate having my photo taken!
If you're feeling inspired by Vanessa's story, just fill in our short form and tell us a bit about yourself. We'll be in touch to discuss the opportunities available.