Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Glenn Got a Job - Thanks to Oxfam!

Welcome back Glenn

Glenn Pollock, who was a volunteer in our Lichfield Book Shop earlier this year has spent the last six months working in the shop at Alton Towers – and he says it’s all thanks to Oxfam! Glenn, aged 26, has cerebral palsy and dyslexia, but he’s never let that get in the way. “When I was growing up I was constantly falling over, and it used to upset me,” he explains. “But it’s not worth getting upset over. I’ve learnt to deal with these things, and I just go out and do what I want to do.  It takes me an extra bit longer to do things. Sometimes my speech is a bit slow, and occasionally I get a bit flustered, but it doesn’t bother me.”

Brought up in Lichfield, he gained an HND in zoology at Derby University, and joined our team of volunteers after finishing his studies and failing to find a job. “I wanted to get out of the house and do something worthwhile,” he says.   “And I did hope it would help me get work.”

When he started with Oxfam Glenn didn’t know what to expect, and his confidence was at a low ebb. “I’d never worked in retail – I’d never used a till, and I had no experience handling cash for an organisation.” But he quickly acquired those new ‘front of house’ skills, got to know our customers, and became a dab hand at checking out the condition and value of donated CDs, records and books.

His confidence grew in leaps and bounds, and he says he really enjoyed himself. “I loved volunteering with Oxfam. I like the camaraderie, the way everyone works together as a ream, and talking about books and music. I love helping people – it puts a smile on my face.”

But he really wanted to get a job and be independent, and he’s convinced it was the skills and experience he gained at Oxfam Lichfield that brought him success. “I can’t thank Oxfam enough. It was due to Oxfam that I got the job, but it was a bit scary to start with. And it gets even more scary when you’re dealing with sales of £200, and taking security tags off goods and so on, but it all falls into place fairly quickly, and I like talking to customers.”

Glenn’s been working on the tills, meeting and greeting visitors, and answering their queries but, sadly, it’s only a seasonal position, and has just come to end. However, he’s already applied to return next year, and the meantime he’s back in our Book Shop, advising customers about books and music they might enjoy, manning the till, and helping out with all the back room tasks.

Chris Hancox, Our Book Shop manager, is delighted with Glenn’s success. He said: “When I took this role on I wanted to help people- not only those that Oxfam aids through its many projects all over the world, but local people who need a bit of a boost, like Glenn. I’m thrilled he feels we helped him, and pleased he’s back helping us, but I’m sure it won’t be long before he is employed again.”

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year Resolutions...

Right people, it's the First of January, the month named after the Roman God Janus, who had two heads (back to back) and was therefore able to look backwards and forwards at the same time, to the past and the future, which must have made life jolly confusing. And just think of the barber's bills... Anyway, in addition to being the Guardian of Gates and Doors, he was responsible for beginnings - and what are New Year's Resolutions about if they're not about starting over?
Bust of the Roman God Janus, from the Vatican
Museum. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Here at Oxfam Lichfield we've got all sorts of hopes and dreams for the year ahead. We want to make 2014 our best year ever (we're ambitious, but we like to aim high). Over at the Main Shop Brenda and her team of valiant volunteers aim to build on their success of the past year, continuing to attract fabulous donations and wonderful customers so they can raise vital funds for Oxfam's work abroad, and in the UK.

Meanwhile, Our Manager in the Bookshop is planning some special 'Bag a Bargain' bonanzas, which should please book lovers, and Ashley, who heads up the music operation, is hoping that this year will be a record breaker for sales and donations (excuse the rather bad pun there). So, to keep him happy, please keep on donating your unwanted vinyl, CDs and DVDs. We are very grateful for your help, and I know we keep asking for more, but we we have lots of faithful music fans,so records and discs fly off the shelves as soon as we put them out - they really do sell like hotcakes.
Help us make 2014 a record-breaker, pleads Ashley -
he was delighted with these CDs, part of a donation
which arrived just before Christmas
And what about me, I hear you ask.... Well, as I've said on our Facebook Page, and on Twitter, there are times when I feel I am developing a split personality as far as social media are concerned, and get horribly muddled sometimes trying to remember if I am Me or Oxfam, Oxfam or Me...

So, as Me I am trying to stop eating junk food (again - I say this every year) and to do more exercise (I say this every year as well). As Oxfam Lichfield I want to try and get this blog up and running on a regular basis (I know, I haven't done very well so far, but it takes time, and Christmas, and New Year, and family things got in the way). The aim is for us to have a vibrant electronic presence, alongside Facebook, Twitter, the online shop and, of course, the shops!

That's it for the moment folks, but we've got all sorts of ideas simmering away - we just need to turn them from dream to reality! In the meantime may I wish you all a Happy New Year. And do leave a comment to tell us about your Resolutions!