Over the Christmas period, the British Heart Foundation is encouraging people to get involved - for their own health, as well as the charity's.

One of their most dedicated volunteers in the area is 25-year-old Laura Kelly.

The Warminster volunteer has been making a huge difference to the charity by getting involved at her local shop in the town for three days a week. But she has also found the role has personally benefitted her greatly too.

She initially started out looking for paid work, but has fallen in love with the experience, hoping to continue long into the future.

Ms Kelly said: “I started volunteering because I was looking for a job, and I came across the advert looking for volunteers and I thought it would look good on my CV because I was applying for work.

“I really enjoy it, and all the staff are great. When I first started I didn’t know what to expect out of it really. I’m quite a quiet and shy person, and now I’ve learned nearly how to do everything, made friends out of it and gained more confidence being able to chat to people.”

Ms Kelly has now also completed a retail course with the charity which will mean she has an additional qualification to boost her CV working in customer service.

Living locally, she can pop in easily. When she is not volunteering, she looks after her young children at home.

Ms Kelly added: “My parents are happy for me to be helping out and say it’s a good thing that I’m volunteering whilst getting ready to find paid work.”

“I’d miss it if I left completely. It’s a lovely place, the atmosphere, the work and the cause we’re helping.”

Recognised for her efforts, Laura has received a certificate from the BHF thanking her for her dedication to the cause.

James Burrows at the charity said: “Laura has come along significantly in her confidence whilst volunteering at the shop, and has been a huge asset to Alison the Manageress and her team, learning to help with phone enquiries and bookings, helping run our eBay Sales department and helping on the shop floor with visual merchandising and customer service.

“She has had a huge impact and helped the shop stay open whilst reopening this year after the lockdowns.”

Success stories like Laura Kelly’s are one of the reasons they want to get more people involved to help them boost their confidence and happiness levels.

Mr Burrows added: “The benefits for people in terms of employability, social interaction and mental wellbeing are varied and numerous, with GPs now prescribing volunteering to people who have suffered with their mental and physical health as a way to regain confidence and get back into a good routine.”