I was really chuffed to be nominated as a Free Press community champion by the team at Vintage Vision, a vintage fashion enterprise with stores in Abergavenny and Blaenavon. I wasn't quite as chuffed when I saw the accompanying photo... (me and cameras just don't mix!)
Text: Our Community Champion has a passion for volunteering and in return hopes to learn some sewing skills. Jess Powell, 23, juggles volunteering at Vintage Vision, a vintage clothes shop with stores in Abergavenny and Blaenavon, with studying for a PHD in History at Caerleon.
Jess said: "I started volunteering while at university in Cambridge. I started on a student nightline service and also did a buddy scheme, helping people with problems such as eating disorders. When I moved back to Cwmbran I volunteered with a youth service and ended up working for them for a while."
Jess decided that she fancied doing something different and in February 2011 she started at the clothes shop. However, Vintage Vision is no regular retail job, although Jess has to do the usual retail tasks such as operating the till, she has also starred as a model in their fashion show and learnt about vintage fashions.
Jess, who hopes to become a lecturer in the future, said: "They also teach how to sew and remodel clothes but my sewing isn't very good. I'm hoping to learn some sewing skills from this, or at least be able to sew a button on." Jess describes volunteering at Vintage Vision as her hobby and has no intentions of giving it up any time soon. When hearing of her nomination, She added: "I thought it was such a nice thing to be nominated and to be recognised for my work."
Co-founder of Vintage Vision, Amanda Peters, said: "Jess is a fantastic volunteer. She is always willing to help out with extra tasks. Her sunny personality and willingness to muck in makes her popular with all our volunteers. She is a real asset, and a great example of a young person really making a difference through volunteering."