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Nataliya Tarasova – Volunteer at British Red Cross shop, Felixstowe, March 2023

Nataliya has been living in Felixstowe under the Homes for Ukraine scheme since Spring 2022.

She has been a volunteer at Felixstowe’s large Red Cross shop on Hamilton Road since January 2023. She approached this shop because her daughter used to work for the Red Cross in Ukraine so she knows what great work they do.

Nataliya volunteers 2 hours per week, on Friday afternoons, and loves it! She enjoys meeting people, practising her English and above all, sharing her skills and making a contribution to the essential work of the Red Cross. She loves the friendly atmosphere in the shop. Red Cross shops are known to have a flexible and inclusive approach to volunteer recruitment and Nicola, the store manager, is always open to new volunteers of all backgrounds and nationalities.

To join the volunteer team, Nataliya just walked into the shop and said she was interested in volunteering – this is often a good way to start, but phoning or applying via email or online are also possible. In most charity shops there are different roles, many of which require little or no English. Some roles involve speaking with customers, but many do not.

Most Suffolk towns have charity shops, and many are open 6 or 7 days a week – why not go in and let them know you’re interested – it could be the start of something really positive.

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Below: Nataliya serving a customer at the Red Cross shop in Felixstowe, March 2023