Our newest and youngest person to join the CT Furniture volunteer team is Simranpreet Kaur, a 19-year-old college student who has been helping in the West Bromwich store since July 2020.

CT Furniture are part of the self-funded charity Community Transport, which for over 50 years has been providing essential services and support in local communities.

The charity relies on the help and support of volunteer workers, to deliver its services across local communities. It aims to bring people and opportunities together to help transform lives and build better communities.

Simranpreet, or Sim for short, explained how she got involved with the charity.

How did you find out about Community Transport?

I came into the store with my mum and saw the poster asking for volunteers in the window. I had previously worked in a charity store and asked if I could be considered.

How long have you volunteered with CT Furniture and when did you join?

I started volunteering for this charity back in July 2020. Previously, I had worked for another charity shop, British Heart Foundation, so when I found the West Bromwich store which is just 5 minutes’ walk away from my family home, it was ideal.

What skills have you learned while working at CT Furniture?

I've learned a lot since being at the store. It’s given me a great insight into working within a retail environment. One day is almost always different from the rest.

I could be serving a customer, and this is helping me strengthen my customer service skills and I'm learning how to better communicate customers. Or I could be answering the phone and arranging collections and deliveries, of the donated and purchased furniture.

I've also helped in the Goods In department, taking photos and uploading the items onto social media pages, so they can be sold on the online shop.

It all depends on who else is working that day and how busy the shop is.

How do you find working at CT Furniture compare to the other charity?

I previously volunteered at BHF for a year. I am pleased to say that compared to there, CT Furniture is impressive. It has a great working environment and I've learned a lot. The staff and team are very friendly.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

I am currently studying a Business Studies, Level 3 course at Sandwell College. I study 2 days on campus, one online and the remaining time I'm available to volunteer.

I hope to progress onto University when my course is finished.

How many hours do you volunteer?

It all depends on my studies, but generally I come into the store at least three days a week, sometimes four, dependent on how much work I have on at College.

How will volunteering at CT Furniture help you in the future?

It helps me with my studies and is giving me a good background into working within a retail environment.

I will be able to use the skills I have gained and include the experience on my CV and within my personal statement when I apply to University.

But also, it is helping me to meet new people and I like the interaction with others.

Do you have any hobbies outside of volunteering at CT Furniture?

I like anything that is creative and have several interests and hobbies. I like working with henna and creating traditional Indian tattoos.

I have made a number of items, including coasters, wall hangings and jewellery using quilling (the art of paper rolling). I have also been knitting and crocheting a scarf and a prayer mat for my room. I also like making windchimes using string and birthday cards for my close friends and family.

During lockdown, I've been watching YouTube and trying to learn the traditional Indian dances, Bhangra. I also love to write and am working on several creative projects that link in with my college work.

What are your long-term goals?

I have a long-term dream of building a charitable hospital in the USA. I have taken this from my grandfather who sadly passed away in 2008, it was his goal to serve his community selflessly in anyway. My sister would assist, she is studying to be a cardiologist and my business skills would help with the day-to-day running. I am determined to stick with my dream even though it seems a long way off, as I don’t believe that it is just profitable big businesses that can succeed, but also individuals who have extra will power and determination.

Want to find out about volunteering at CT Furniture?

The charity has a number of volunteer opportunities and are always looking for help from those who have time and are looking to make a difference in the local community.

In return, volunteers gain work-based skills that can help when it comes to finding a job. There is also the opportunity to meet new friends and be part of something worthwhile.

To find out more visit: https://www.communitytransport.org/volunteer-with-us