15 January 2024

If you have a passion for retail, volunteer with Lifeline to help save lives and learn new skills

| Jen White
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Lifeline's Wollongong shop.

Lifeline is looking for volunteers to help in one of its four retail outlets, including the Wollongong shop. Photo: Region Illawarra.

If you’ve ever wanted to volunteer with Lifeline but didn’t think telephone counselling was for you, here’s your chance to contribute and do your bit to help save lives.

Lifeline South Coast is looking for new volunteers to work in one of its four op shops, at Wollongong, Corrimal, Dapto and Nowra.

Proceeds from the shops go directly towards funding local suicide prevention services and the critical 13 11 14 telephone crisis support line, which answers more than 30,000 calls every year across the Illawarra and South Coast.

Lifeline’s retail outlets not only help to save lives, they also help to save the planet by recycling items that can’t be sold in the shop because they’re damaged, or don’t meet the high standards of quality control.

READ ALSO Giving unwanted donations a second life helps Lifeline save lives

Lifeline South Coast CEO Renee Green says volunteers play a crucial role in helping the organisation to provide crisis support services to those who need it most.

“No previous retail experience is required, just a passion for helping others,” she says.

“If you’re looking for an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in your community while gaining valuable retail experience, this is the perfect chance to get involved.

“Volunteers help to sort, price and display donated items, provide customer service, maintain and organise the shop and operate the register.

“Training is provided and volunteers are able to gain valuable skills in customer service, teamwork and retail operations.”

Lifeline South Coast's monthly snapshot for December.

Lifeline South Coast’s monthly snapshot for December, showing the crucial work by volunteers across the organisation. Photo: Lifeline South Coast.

If books are your first love, Lifeline is also looking for volunteers to join its book sorting team.

Most volunteers work between four and 15 hours per week at the book sorting warehouse in Auburn St, Wollongong.

An information session will be held on Wednesday 14 February from 5 pm at the warehouse, to help potential recruits learn about the crucial role book sorting volunteers play in preparing for Lifeline’s book fairs and community outreach programs.

READ ALSO Wests Illawarra celebrates its strength in community

The team is responsible for sorting, cleaning, researching, pricing and packing about 200,000 books per year.

Renee says this year’s Big Book Fairs, held in March and October, are shaping up to be among the biggest events yet.

“With over 50 pallets of donated books ready to be cleaned, sorted and priced, we’re looking for a new cohort of recruits to join our team,” she says.

“The information session is a fun and engaging way to answer all your questions and show interested volunteers around the space.”

To register for the information session, click here.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467.

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