Stroke sufferer, 50, urges others to ‘give back’ with volunteer work

Fifty year old Mabel Mann from Broughshane is speaking about her personal motivation for volunteering as a way to encourage more people to help out in the Age NI charity shop in Ballymena.
Fifty year old Mabel Mann from Broughshane is speaking about her personal motivation for volunteering as a way to encourage more people to help out in the Age NI charity shop in Ballymena.

A Broughshane woman has shared her personal motivation for volunteering in a bid to encourage more people to help out in the Age NI charity shop in Ballymena.

Mabel Mann (50) who has been a casual store volunteer in the Mill Street premises for almost two years, explained that the role had ‘brought her confidence back’ following a life changing experience which affected her health.

Mabel said: “When I was very ill and in recovery from a stroke, I always said I would give something back to the community. This is my way of doing that.”

Now Mabel volunteers every Saturday morning. She explained how she got started in her role and what she personally gains for her time spent in the Age NI shop: “I found out about volunteering in the charity shop from a support worker in another local organisation. I couldn’t wait to begin. It didn’t take long as the volunteer process was very straightforward.

“I operate the till, put out stock and tidy the shop. I also do my best to help customers find what they’re looking for.”

Mabel added: “Volunteering with Age NI is very fulfilling. I get a lot of joy from it and in return I have a good laugh with other volunteers and I’ve made some really good friends.

“The role has brought my confidence back after my illness and renewed my skills working with the public. It keeps me active and makes me to feel useful. “I’m more focused on the task at hand and I feel much stronger now, both physically and mentally. I simply make volunteering a part of my weekly routine.”

Breige Miller, Acting Shop Manager, said: “Whatever the reason, sparing a few hours each week for Age NI is a big help. There are many different ways to support the shop from dealing with customers on the shop floor to ‘behind the scenes’ roles in the back store.

“No matter your interests, skills, or experience, Age NI will provide training. We deeply value the contribution of our all our volunteers and are incredibly grateful for the time and commitment they offer to help us raise vital funds for people in later life.”

The Age NI shop sells pre-loved clothes, homeware and accessories to raise money for older people in need.

It also provides older people, their families or carers with access to a range of services including information on issues in later life like money, care, housing and health.

To volunteer, contact Stacey Lee, Age NI Volunteer Coordinator on 028 9024 5729, stacey.lee@ageni.org or visit www.ageni.org/volunteer.