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High school student embraces life as a volunteer

High school student Charlotte Martin is working towards a career in medicine ahead of her, but right now she’s embracing life as a volunteer with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Charlotte, 18, has been a retail volunteer with the charity for the last 18 months, spending an afternoon a week in our Strathaven boutique store.

And the teenager, who lives in the town, says her experience with Scotland’s leading charity for chest, heart and stroke conditions has been invaluable.

In her final year at Strathaven Academy before hopefully going off to university to study medicine, Charlotte says: "I had been keen to do some charity work for a while, and Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland appealed because obviously it’s a medical charity.

"Members of my family have also suffered a stroke, so it was close to home.

"But I also loved the store in Strathaven because it’s a bit different from other charity shops. It’s a boutique and always had some lovely things on display. I loved coming in here to browse for bargains.

"I signed up as a volunteer and began coming in two hours a week when the shop reopened after lockdown. Now that I’m in sixth year, I have a free afternoon on Thursday, so I come straight to the shop after school."

Gaining valuable experience

Charlotte has been gaining retail experience, working the till, putting out clothes on display and – her personal favourite – learning to dress the mannequins.

Like all high school students, she was encouraged to sign up for voluntary work to gain real-life experience and help with university applications. But she says her experience with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has been great for her own confidence and communication skills.

Charlotte adds: "I wanted to do something that I would enjoy, and volunteering with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has certainly been that. It’s been so good for me as I’ve got better at talking to people I don’t know and helping out members of the public.

"Sometimes people of my age struggle to talk to older people, and the reverse is true, too. I’ve been getting to know so many people, and now I know their routines and look forward to seeing them.

"Charity work like this is so good for all of us, no matter what age we are. I’d say to anyone thinking of it to give it a go and especially CHSS because they do such great work."

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit our Volunteering Opportunities page to find roles across the country, or pop in to your local store to have a chat with our friendly team! chss.org.uk/volunteering

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