Alex Emery- Store Manager
Alex was born in Benfleet and has always lived in the same area as the Shared Space store she now manages.
Location: Shared Space, Westcliff
Experience: Volunteered in Shared Space and with Church from Scratch in leadership & youth worker roles
Hobby: Cooking and would love to do more travelling
Working Days: Most days you will see Alex at the store
I really enjoyed going into Shared Space during my annual leave so I started volunteering and then became the manager of Shared Space Westcliff.
Why did you get involved?
I’m a long-standing member of Church from Scratch and I loved the idea of Shared Space right from the start when our church was planning and praying about the idea. I loved the plan of not just starting a charity shop, but of it being deeply involved in the local community, working with that community and bringing people together.
What do you do as a Store Manager?
I lead and build the large group of diverse volunteers who staff the store and help them come together as a team. I try to work out what people are, or could be, good at, encourage and stretch them so they develop in new ways.
Day to day I keep it organised so everything gets done and plan the shifts which the volunteers are on. I welcome new volunteers, and train and settle them in.
Then there are team meetings with other members of staff to plan events and training.
What are some of the highlights?
It is good seeing the volunteer team growing not just in numbers but in their confidence.
A standout memory is a volunteer who was wary and unsure if she could do it at the start and six months later she is brimming with confidence, enjoying being part of the shift and very much able to contribute to what we do.
Another highlight is the monthly job of organising a team of volunteers to decide where the Boost Fund Grants are given away. The bonus for me is in phoning up people and groups in the local area and telling them their grant is on its way!
Shared Space Westcliff was the first store we opened. At the start it was pretty much made up of Church from Scratch volunteers, and now the great majority of volunteers are people from the local area and that growth has been really encouraging to see.
Any hopes for the future?
Over the years we have got to know a really good group of regular customers and people who donate goods. We are really grateful to them and I get a sense that there is even more we can do to include them in the life of Shared Space so that together we can be good news in Westcliff.
Alex says, “We’re involved with the local community, working with the community and bringing the community together.”
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