Tell us a bit about yourself?
Many decades ago, I was born in Shetland. We lived in Dingwall and Musselburgh before settling in Edinburgh, where I went to school. My first job was in a souvenir shop at Edinburgh Zoo. However, my proper job was a civil servant in the then Department for Health & Social Security. In 1980s/90s, I lived in SE England. I’ve also lived in Pennsylvania and Virginia, USA, and in Northern Ireland which I loved. In both countries I developed a passion for quilting, collecting fabrics and books for my ‘stash’. Now back in Edinburgh, my interests revolve around singing, walking, volunteering at Smalls and helping with grandchildren. I belong to two choirs in Edinburgh – Sing In The City and Cheyne Gang. They’re completely different but, like Smalls, both offer great friendship, great fun and a sense of belonging.
How did you first become involved with Smalls and what made you want to volunteer with us?
Jaci Cunningham – a volunteer at Smalls and a member of one of the Sing In The City choirs – was visiting my choir to collect donations of NEW pants and NEW and GENTLY worn bras. We got chatting; I went along to the unit in Baird Road to see for myself and loved it. The rest is history.
What do you do for Smalls?
As a sorting volunteer, I help with opening the many parcels/boxes we receive, sort and count pants, size bras and get the underwear ready for its journey. I also help when we need to load our bras and pants into trucks for organisations like NPAC who distribute on our behalf.
What do you enjoy about volunteering with Smalls?
We are a VERY small group of volunteers who deal with an INCREDIBLE amount of donations, but it never seems like hard work. Everyone is trying to achieve the same goal and it’s done not as a chore but as a vocation. The camaraderie is phenomenal and Maria is truly inspirational. I genuinely look forward to my Thursday visits to Smalls and love it when Maria has to put on an extra work day at the weekend, honestly.
What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering with Smalls?
Just a few words: DON’T HESITATE! We work hard, but it’s a great atmosphere. PLUS we’re achieving something for others who are much less fortunate than we are. It’s a great feeling. The ethos is totally genuine and most of all you will LOVE it.