83-year-old Octavia volunteer receives ‘lifetime achievement award’

Thursday 2 December 2021
Kew Garden volunteer event

At a special event at Kew Gardens earlier this week, Octavia volunteer Rita Goff was presented with a lifetime achievement award for her 21 years of service in our charity shops.

Rita (83), a local Hammersmith & Fulham resident, has been volunteering with us three days a week since she was 62, which makes her our oldest and longest-serving volunteer.

Speaking about Rita, Zahraa Fedhel, Employability and Volunteer Services Manager at Octavia said: “Rita currently works at our Askew Road shop three-days a week and is well-known and loved by our customers and the local community. It is only through the dedication of volunteers like Rita that we are able to raise the money needed to run our community work, which helps local people across London boroughs to live better lives in all sorts of ways and to provide help often when people need it most.”

Receiving her award, Rita said “I signed up to volunteer in 2001 as I knew that sitting at home alone wouldn’t be good for my mental health. Over the years I’ve worked at several Octavia branches.  I’ve been doing this for as long as I have because of the wonderful people that work here. The staff are an extension of my family.”

Rita also explained that the Octavia's Askew Road shop holds a closer personal connection: “I used to meet my late daughter in here as it was a great halfway meeting point for us. One day I came across a doll that she used to have as a child. When I went up to the till to buy it for her, I remember her saying to the manager how I was the best mum in the world.”

Rita received the special award at Octavia’s Community Celebration event, held at Kew Gardens. The event was held to celebrate and thank the many volunteers and supporters who assist us to provide vital community support in central and west London.

Speaking about the event, which was attended by almost 100 volunteers and supporters, Liz Shipsey, Head of Communities at Octavia said: “People need extra help for all sorts of reasons, at different times in their lives. We work with Londoners of all ages to build confidence, connections and community. From training and confidence building for young people to befriending and activities for older people.

"Our work is holistic, personal – and in many cases – transformational. In many ways the last 18 months have highlighted what we already knew – that social connections are vital for a happy healthy life and it reinforces the importance of the work that we, and all our amazing supporters do to help local people in west and central London. Tonight was a chance to really thank them for their contributions.”

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