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“Our new-look shop has become an even better place to volunteer” – Marlene would recommend joining the team at Halstead

21 Mar “Our new-look shop has become an even better place to volunteer” – Marlene would recommend joining the team at Halstead

Volunteer Marlene Hunt says helping out at her refurbished charity shop has never been a more attractive proposition.

The mum of two grown-up daughters spends two half-days a week at the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) store in High Street, Halstead.

It is something she has relished and found fulfilling for nearly six years.

However, now she says the thought of spending time at the shop is even more appealing because of the refit.

The Halstead branch recently closed for two and a half weeks in order to remove the shop’s old carpet and lay a new laminate wooden floor.

The 1970s-style slatted wall panels have also been replaced with a slick white finish.

“Volunteering here is something I genuinely enjoy,” said Marlene.

“It’s such a friendly shop to spend time in and I love seeing and chatting to our team and regular customers.

“Now it’s been refurbished it’s an even nicer place to spend time.

“We have a comments book on the counter and after just a couple of days several pages had been filled.

“Everyone was very complimentary and said how bright, fresh and modern it felt.”

Marlene, who lives in Halstead, previously worked in the town’s Barclays Bank.

EACH’s shop manager at the time used to come in and his dedication for the charity proved inspirational.

“He was always so friendly and passionate about EACH,” said Marlene, who helps out on Thursdays and Saturdays and also volunteers at the town’s Empire Theatre.

“His enthusiasm rubbed off on me.

“Another lady from the bank started volunteering and we often did fundraisers for the hospice, so I always felt a connection.

“I’d just reduced my hours so thought I’d like to offer my services.

“I started doing half a day a week and now I’m fully retired I do two half-days.

“Sometimes I’ll do a third day if I’m needed.

“Volunteering is definitely something I’d recommend to anyone, even if it’s just for a couple of hours a week.

“I’m on my own and now I’m fully retired, I don’t want to find myself in a position where the days roll into one. I don’t want to wake up wondering what day it is because they all feel the same.

“Volunteering here a couple of days a week gives me structure and a sense of purpose.

“It fills my days and makes me feel useful, so it’s a positive and rewarding part of my life.”

Shop manager Chris Davies is keen to hear from anyone interested in volunteering in the Halstead shop, particularly on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

He said: “We’re ideally looking for someone to work on the till and sort through donations, but would love to hear from anyone interested in joining our friendly team.”

Chris can be contacted via or by calling the shop on 01787 476753.

EACH supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across North and West Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.