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A Day in the Life…

of a charity shop volunteer

Meet Maureen

My name is Maureen Nelson and I am 66 years young and from Edinburgh. I am a teacher – first primary and then tertiary teaching English as a Foreign Language. I have lived most of my adult life abroad including Israel, Austria, Canada and latterly UAE mainly in Dubai. I returned to Scotland last summer having spent 31 years there. I have two rescue dogs, Abby and Kala, who were born and raised in Dubai but have settled quite happily over here!


What made you apply to volunteer at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home charity shop?

I became aware of the shop before it opened when I was over on holiday the year before it opened. I love animals especially dogs and horses but also cats. I have owned two cats and nine dogs in my life not all at the same time of course! I was at a loose end when I returned as I was not working and don’t know many people in Edinburgh any more apart from family and a couple of friends so when I saw the shop was advertising for volunteers I decided to apply.

What is a typical day like in the charity shop?

There is actually no typical day in the charity shop as there are many different tasks to be done and everyone is involved to a greater or lesser extent with all of them. Tasks include manning the till, setting up displays, steaming garments, pricing and putting out stock, culling old stock, receiving and sorting donations, researching the value of certain items, keeping the shop tidy and clean and of course making and drinking tea.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home?

There are many things I enjoy about volunteering here. Apart from the actual work in the shop, I enjoy meeting and making new friends with the other volunteers who range in age from 16 to, well, me I suppose! I also love interacting with the customers some of whom have great stories to tell or advice to give. I especially love it when they bring their pooches in. We have a tin of treats by the till for this very purpose and owners say their dogs drag them into the shop! We haven’t had any visits from cats as yet but maybe one day….. I also like being able to take part in other events such as the Spring Fling and EDCH Open Day where we had a tombola stall.

Would you recommend volunteering to a friend or colleague?

Definitely! I recommended it to some of my students who are over here to study or work. They were interested but most work full time as well as study so it would be hard for them to do so.

Have you been tempted by any of our animals up for rehoming?

Always and every one of them dog or cat, large or small. However with 2 dogs and a small house I can’t. The next time I’m looking for another dog or maybe even a cat, EDCH will be the first place I’ll look!


Our charity shop in Morningside is currently recuiting volunteers. If you can spare a few hours a week then please get in touch! 

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