Volunteering at a Lifeline Shop inspires a love of retail

December 1, 2023
Lifeline shop supervisor Robert Wondrock.

From his first day volunteering at Lifeline Shop Princess Street in Bundaberg, Robert Wondrock hasn’t looked back.

After a rough time job-hunting, where he had applied for several positions with no luck, Robert joined Lifeline Queensland as a Work for the Future participant, choosing Lifeline because of our previous support for his family.

From that first day in the shop, Robert felt at home, liking his assigned work and moving quickly from sorting to operating the cash register. He enjoyed developing his customer service skills by answering customers’ questions and helping with their shopping.

He realised his new routine of getting up each day and going to work was good for his mental and physical health. And he liked that he was learning new skills – which would help him gain employment in the future.

In fact, Robert realised he loved retail.

When his initial commitment was finalised, Robert decided to stay with Lifeline as a regular shop volunteer. From here, he gained skills in accepting donations, deliveries and stock take. He picked up extra shifts if team members were on leave or could not come to the shop on weekends.

The business manager for the area noticed Robert’s work ethic, natural people skills and how hard he had worked to gain skills and help other team members, so when a paid position as shop supervisor became available at Lifeline Shop West Bundaberg, Robert was the successful applicant.

In his first three weeks in the shop, Robert was meeting budget and had previous volunteers returning to work with him. Robert has since returned to Lifeline Shop Princess Street as supervisor.

Volunteer with Lifeline and change lives, yours included

Robert says that volunteering has had a significant impact on his life.

“Honestly, going to work (as a volunteer) gave me motivation,” he says. “I felt like I had a normal job, I had a routine. Because I had been given this opportunity, I wanted to put in the hard work. It shows you what can happen; Lifeline has done so much for me.”

Robert recommends volunteering at Lifeline Shops “150%”.

“I recommend volunteering to everyone,” he says. “It makes you feel good to know you are helping others, you can learn new skills, and if you are looking for work, it can lead to that, too. It has made a huge difference to my life, and I have seen how volunteering has impacted the lives of volunteers in the Lifeline Shops, and this is good for Lifeline.”

If you would like to volunteer with at a Lifeline shop and change lives, yours included, visit our Volunteer page. Lifeline Queensland is proudly part of the UnitingCare family – read more volunteer stories in UnitingCare’s Volunteer Impact Report.

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