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Abbie's story: 'The He...

Abbie's story: 'The Headway family welcomed me with open arms' Main Image

Abbie's story: 'The Headway family welcomed me with open arms'

Fri 23 Apr 2021

Abbie Hutsby began volunteering in Headway’s Eastwood shop as part of a Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award placement in 2015, at the age of just 14. This year we are delighted to welcome her back to the team as manager of the shop. 

We asked Abbie what led her to choose Headway, the benefits of volunteering for us, and her excitement about taking on a new challenge...

What made you choose Headway for your DofE placement?

"I’ve always had a love of charity shops ever since I was young, my mum would always take me into them and I was fascinated by the treasures you can find.

"Headway is also an important charity for me as many friends and family have suffered with brain injuries or brain tumours, and it's amazing to know that volunteering or working here helps support so many others."

How did you find the role, once you started with us?

"I found it very daunting at first but I have always been a people person, never one to shy away from a chit-chat with customers, hearing their story, why they are donating or even why they are buying certain items.

"The Headway family welcomed me with open arms, I asked so so many questions because I wanted to help with everything possible."

How did working with us help you personally?

"My position helped me gain so much confidence, it helped me realise how much goes on in a charity shop - so much hard work goes into every little thing that happens.

"From volunteering I also gained a lot of experience to put on my CV. That mixed with my DofE experience shows how much you’re willing to put in to a potential job in the future."

Abbie Huntsby in Headway's Eastwood shop

What brought you back to Headway?

"I had to have a small break from headway due to my exams and having to study, but I would always help where possible, during the Christmas lights switch-on, Hats for Headway Day, constantly bringing donations in where I could, and definitely spending a lot of my money as well!"

How do you feel about taking on the role of manager at the shop?

"I am absolutely over-joyed and overwhelmed by it all! I have never had a definitive plan in life, never known what I wanted to pursue until I started at Headway.

"I knew this is where I wanted to be so to have this amazing opportunity - there are just no words, I'm just so so happy!"

What does Headway mean to you?

"Headway means so much to me and it always will, the stories people tell about how we help them and their families will always stick with me, and that is what drives me, pushes me every day.

"Working with Headway benefits me emotionally, physically and mentally, I feel at home. I’m so happy when I am here and that’s what is important, you’re at work for a large portion of your life so you should be happy!"

What would you say to others who might be thinking of volunteering?

"Do it! It might seem intimidating at first but don’t worry, you will always have a large support network around you and you will get the opportunity to work with people you may not have before."

We would like to say a huge thank you to Abbie and our amazing team of volunteers who make it possible to run our charity shops across the Midlands and North West of England, raising vital funds to help support those affected by brain injury. 

Interested in volunteering for us? 

You can find out more and apply here, or contact your local Headway shop to discuss opportunities near you. 


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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