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21 Feb 2020 Volunteer News

Meltham lad Mason gives his local community shop a helping hand

Four years ago this month, Mason Hemphill started volunteering at Kirkwood’s charity shop in Meltham. Initially hoping to meet new people and improve his confidence, Mason has proved a huge asset to Kirkwood’s shop team. And he is delighted to be helping in his local community.

Four years ago this month, 24-year-old Mason Hemphill, was looking for positive ways to build his confidence and help with his anxiety. Having grown up in Meltham, Mason started to look for opportunities to work or volunteer in his local village.

Mason, who is Autistic and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), struggles with anxiety, so it was really important to him and his family that they found an opportunity close to home.

Mason and his mum, Tracie, visited Huddersfield based employment agency, REAL, which supports adults with learning disabilities and additional needs to find placements and employment.

Tracie said: “With people he knows, Mason appears to be outgoing and confident, but in reality he really struggles with anxiety and meeting new people.

“Our aim was to help Mason find an opportunity to volunteer or work somewhere that not only would he enjoy, but would also help boost his confidence.”

After discussing his interests, and being aware of his location, REAL employment advised of a volunteering opportunity at Kirkwood’s Meltham Shop.

It was the perfect opportunity for Mason. Not only was it close to home, but Kirkwood was a charity close to his heart.

Back in June 2013, Kirkwood provided end of life care for his Nana, Roberta, who he speaks of with such pride, and was so close to when growing up.

Tracie said: “Mason’s nana, Roberta, was cared for on Ward 11 during the Hospice’s refurbishment, but the care was just as fantastic as it would’ve been on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit.

“Both of Mason’s nanas died of lung cancer and were supported by Kirkwood. My mum, Mary, died 23 years ago when Mason was very young. I always remember her talking about Kirkwood’s Day Care and how much she enjoyed attending.”

Both Tracie and Mason were delighted with the opportunity to volunteer for Kirkwood. They popped in to the Meltham shop straight away to enquire, and before long, he was volunteering every Friday.

When asking Mason what he enjoys the most about volunteering, he said: “It is always busy in the shop. Before I start the day, I always look forward to seeing my friends, especially Josie and Irene. We are like a family.

 Mason (centre) pictured with Meltham Shop Manager, Rebecca Duncombe, (left) and General Assistant, Julie Paynter (right).

 

“I told my friend, Michael, about volunteering in the Kirkwood shop and how great it is. I have just found out that he started volunteering in the Huddersfield town centre shop earlier this week! He said he had a great first day.

“I am going to visit him next time he is volunteering at the shop.”

Tracie added: “Volunteering at Kirkwood has really helped Mason. They are a good bunch of people and it is just like a family.”

Mason is known for his love of films, TV, and music from all eras, so one of his favourite jobs during his day of volunteering is to help organise any new media stock donations.

“I would highly recommend anyone to volunteer at one of Kirkwood’s shops. Everyone is so kind and friendly.”

Tracie said: “For Mason, it’s the social interaction. I know that he is in safe hands and with people he knows. He loves it.

“It has really helped with his confidence, and everyone in the local village knows him. It is such a positive environment for him to be in.”

“The money that is raised through the shops and fundraising is vital, and Kirkwood deserves every penny of it.”

Why not head to your nearest Kirkwood shop to find out how you can learn new skills, make great friends and support Kirkwood a little closer to home. You'll be greeted with a warm welcome and a cuppa from our friendly teams! To find your nearest shop, visit: bit.ly/35vfbHF

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