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Stephanie Merret

Aged 17, Stephanie was staying in one of The Haven’s refuges with her mum and young sister. She was in and out of employment and worked in bars until the age of 21. She was fed up of ‘pulling pints’ and wanted to pursue a more meaningful career and give something back to society.

Stephanie approached Base 25 about information on volunteering. Wolverhampton Art Gallery, The Youth Action Team and The Haven Wolverhampton were the volunteering programmes she found most interesting.

Stephanie initially volunteered at Wolverhampton Art Gallery to help in an exhibition for four months. After her experience there she wanted to work in the community so she worked as a volunteer for Base 25, promoting volunteering opportunities through events which led to her first proper job as a Youth Volunteer Assistant.
Stephanie finally found something she loved doing, but something was missing. She wanted to do something that was close to her heart, and that’s when she started volunteering with The Haven Wolverhampton in May 2012. This was at a time when THE Vintage Co, a social enterprise that helps to raise funds for victims of domestic violence, was just preparing to open. Stephanie’s passion and love for vintage clothes was key to the success of the shop.

Stephanie also helped produce The Haven film ‘Home Sweet Home’, a short film which explores the complex nature of domestic violence and the different behaviours that constitute this form of abuse, a film which brought up some personal issues, but helped Stephanie to resolve them.
Stephanie always dreamed of her own business. She discussed her ideas with the staff at THE Vintage Co. and she decided to do it.

Stephanie has opened her own business, Eliza’s Decadence and produces accessories and homewares that ranges from brooches to table runners and napkins. In addition, Stephanie is now a full time student at Wolverhampton University and is working part time at Central Library in the archives department.

‘If I’ve learnt something in life its gaining skills, motivation, confidence and courage to carry on when life seems bleak and I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. All three volunteering opportunities led to something positive in my life and all this has happened in the space of 3 years’.

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