Volunteer Spotlight: From Isolation to Inspiration at Autism Hampshire's Charity Shop

5th June 2024

Just off the High Street in Fareham, Autism Hampshire's charity shop thrives, not just because of the quality items it offers, but because of the dedication and warmth of its volunteers.

Among these dedicated individuals is Linda Slatcher, a local resident, whose story of resilience and commitment is inspiring.

Linda’s journey to volunteering for Autism Hampshire's charity shop began during a difficult period in her life. She was grieving after experiencing two significant losses, and we were in the middle of the pandemic.

“I couldn’t leave the house. I was anxious. But one day I said, 'Come on, you’ve got to leave the house.' I walked down this way and saw the sign. I brought in some shoes, and I have been here ever since," Linda recalled.

For Linda, the shop became more than just a place to spend time, it became a purpose.

"It’s given me a reason to actually open that front door and come out – especially in the winter when you want to stay in your pyjamas all day," she shared.

Initially volunteering three days a week, Linda continues to dedicate two days a week to the shop assisting with everything such as steaming clothes, organising displays, manning the till, and sorting donations.

Volunteering is not new to Linda. She has been offering her time and skills since she was 14, contributing to various organisations, including the Red Cross, where she assisted with transportation for afternoon teas and events, and providing first aid for motorbike scrambles at Droxford.

Linda Slatcher stands in the shop tidying up a scarf display

Linda also ran a youth club and taught cookery lessons in schools. "When I ran the local youth club, I ended up being an auntie to lots of them. I have always managed to help other people. I like helping people," she said with a smile.

Despite having no direct connection to autism, Linda's passion for helping others led her to Autism Hampshire. She acknowledges that volunteering can be daunting, especially for those who have never done it before. "I don’t think people realise what is involved in volunteering. It’s a bit daunting," she admits.

In the shop, Linda's contributions are vast and varied. She has also made a significant impact with the crucial task of looking after the window displays.

"People ring up and say they saw something in the window and they ask about buying it. A lot of people driving past, see the window display, loop around and come back. There will be something in the shop for a couple of weeks, and I put it in the window, and it sells," Linda explained.

Linda’s story is a testament to the important impact volunteering can have both on the volunteer and the community. Her dedication and positive spirit make her an invaluable member of Autism Hampshire’s charity shop team.

Get Involved:

If Linda’s story has inspired you, why not consider volunteering at Autism Hampshire’s charity shop? For more information, click here or drop by the shop to speak with our friendly team. Together, we can continue to make a positive impact to the lives of autistic people in and around Hampshire.

© Autism Hampshire, Part of Avenues Group, all rights reserved.
Charity Reg No: 288141. Reg. No. 01710300.