More than 1,500 volunteers generously give their time to support Zest and St Elizabeth Hospice. These volunteers provide support in many ways, including working in either of the two Zest retail shops, in Colchester and Ipswich, or by working alongside Zest staff in supporting young adults at X-Change evenings and weekend drop in sessions.
One Zest volunteer is 17-year-old Evie Abbott, who began volunteering at the Zest shop in Ipswich in 2020.
“I chose Zest because it’s different, unique and exciting,” explained Evie.
“I love the shop the way it is set out and the variety of items it has including records, books, jewellery, clothes, local artist work and the refill station. I also enjoy the environment, everyone is super welcoming, friendly and helpful.”
Volunteering for Zest or St Elizabeth Hospice sees supporters donate any amount of time they are able to do so. Currently volunteering once a week, with plans to volunteer more in the future, Evie is studying for her A-levels at Suffolk One.
However, the flexibility of volunteering with Zest enables Evie to support the charity, while also having time to study and socialise with friends and family as well as enjoying her many hobbies such as ballet, films, music and writing poetry.
She added: “Every day at Zest is different with somebody new to meet or something new to learn, which is great as it gives me maximum experience as well as being interesting and it challenges me to push myself out of my comfort zone.
“I love looking through all the donations we get, putting them out on the shop floor, making it look lovely, styling the mannequins, helping out with our Zest Depop shop and serving customers.
“It is extremely rewarding to volunteer as I am helping others whilst supporting a great cause. Zest is such an important service for many young adults and their families in the local area. It provides a real positive impact on their lives and they accommodate the needs of the people that need it most, that is why their work is important and significant to me.”
Similar to many people in Suffolk, Evie has a personal connection to St Elizabeth Hospice and it is this experience which plays a big role in her motivation to help the hospice and Zest to support more people in the community who need the care of the independent Suffolk charity during difficult times in their lives.
“I feel so strongly about supporting the work they do as I know how powerful and life changing it is to those who need it.
“Volunteering for Zest is something I would recommend to anyone. It is a super enjoyable experience and you learn lots of new transferable skills. It is also a really nice way to spend your free time, as you are giving back to your community and helping others.
“As well as this you get to meet new like-minded people, find some really cool clothes that are second hand so are better for the planet, whilst donating money and time to a really important cause in your local community.”
To learn more about volunteering opportunities at Zest and St Elizabeth Hospice email email@example.com or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/support-us/volunteer-for-us/.