ANN Rice is the Manager of the Action Cancer Shop in Market Square. Action Cancer shops operate throughout Northern Ireland helping the charity to raise funds to support its vital services.
Ann, who lives in Carryduff, first became involved with the charity when she started off volunteering following a long career in education. This is now her second year managing the Lisburn store.
I work four days a week and am usually in Lisburn at 9am to get the shop ready for opening. Shops are the public face of Action Cancer and they reflect the professional image of the organisation and provide up-to-date information about the services the charity provides.
We sell bric and brac, books, clothing, furniture and recycled electrical goods. The top quality pre-loved furniture and electrical items are sold at great prices and a lot of new customers are often surprised at the extensive range offered.
Throughout the day myself and the volunteers take in donations from the public. It is easy for people to donate furniture, electrical goods and other bits and pieces. If items are large then people can call us at the shop and we will book in a collection when it best suits. Large items can also be delivered to customers.
We operate a diary booking system which helps us specify a time and date for deliveries and collections of goods and we try to arrange pick ups and collections in the same areas around the same time to keep it simple. Collections can be as large as house clearances or single donations of sofas or dining room suites. We sell everything -including pianos at times. People have been very generous even though there has been a recession. It has affected us slightly but not too badly.
A lot of sorting, organising, and testing of electrical goods has to be arranged. Bryson do the tests for us so all the goods are tested before they go out into the shops. Customers can be assured that the electrical goods are in good condition.
Throughout the day I could be working on paper work, updating accounts, doing the banking and sorting out collections and deliveries. I regularly meet with the area manager and once a month the retail managers all get together for a meeting.
It definitely is a hot spot for retired people too who like to come in for a chat and browse through the items. I spend most of my time on the shop floor meeting customers and helping them - just like what happens in any retail shop. Action Cancer set us targets so this gives us all motivation to meet them.
I enjoy my job as not only am I doing something worthwhile but it provides me with a great opportunity to get to know people -customers come from all over the place. Life has been kind to me so my role is a way for me to give back to others. Myself and the volunteers are all trained in cancer awareness and we can talk to the customers about their experiences.
At the moment I am trying to recruit new volunteers and promote the shop.
If anyone has a few hours to spare please call in to have a chat about volunteering with us.
I really try to make all the volunteers feel appreciated because they are vital to the success of the shop and Action Cancer. They make so much of a difference and are very precious and valued.