Seeking retail heroes for return of charity shops

6th April 2021

Anticipating the return of its charity shops being open again post lockdown, St Barnabas Hospice is seeking new volunteering recruits.

After having to close for the duration of the present lockdown, St Barnabas is set to open all of its shops and needs a fresh injection of voluntary help to man the tills, sort through donations and welcome customers back to what is one of its main streams of income.

Caroline Peach, Head of Retail at the Hospice, said: “The last year has been challenging for the Hospice, we are currently losing around £1,000 per day due to COVID restrictions. There has been a drain on income at present because of having to close for much of last year and our large-scale events unfortunately not taking place at all.

“However, we are so excited to be able to open up again. We’d welcome any help, and no commitment is too small. If you can only commit short-term, we are able to offer arrangements for those who might have gaps between jobs or have time during the Summer holidays. Our volunteers mean that we can run our shops smoothly, and customers are able to support us with their generous donations and purchases.

“The role means that you will receive and process donated goods, steam and prepare clothes for sale and encourage shoppers to Gift Aid their donations.

The work also includes the rotation and restocking of items for sale, as well as pricing them following guidelines.

“Volunteers also play a crucial role in representing the Hospice and passing on information about the services we offer to customers. We will also teach you how to create attractive window displays and to create a welcoming environment on the shop floor. Till training is also provided, so as well as helping others, you will be learning new skills too.

For those who want to help in other ways, there are a variety of other roles to be fulfilled by those willing to give their time. The shops are also seeking those who are familiar with running eBay or Depop profiles, as the Hospice also sells online.

To help make the most of the Hospice’s eBay, time needs to be spent researching, photographing, listing and packing items. Similar skills are needed for running the Hospice’s Depop account, which also requires a focus on fashion and knowledge of what styles are in demand to maximise sales.

For bookworms, research and a flair for display is what the Hospice is looking for, there really is a role for everyone.

Steve Bond, Volunteer Services Manager, added: “ Volunteering with us is varied and flexible, and there is sure to be a role that works for you. It is also a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and boost your CV with valuable experience.

“For those wanting to take on more responsibility, volunteers can receive training and support to be able to open and close the shop and cash up in the manager’s absence, which is good work experience for the CV.

“We welcome volunteers from all backgrounds. You just need to be over the age of 16. However, if you are undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, you can volunteer in one of our shops from just 14.”

Present volunteers Lorcan Smith, who helps at the Hospice’s Brant Road shop and Mustapha Chafik, who volunteers at the Cardinal Close warehouse where donations are stored and sorted both have positive experiences to share.

Lorcan said: “All charities have struggled during the pandemic, and I was happy to provide support to a local charity who would otherwise be struggling to keep going. Not only that, but the support from St Barnabas has helped me stay sane during the pandemic myself. I won’t hesitate to go back if I have free time again.”

Mustapha said: “I’ve sorted general donations at the Cardinal Close site as I wanted to give my time to a local cause. I find the people friendly and we are really appreciated by the organisation.

“The hospice is a much-needed and respected organisation, and I’m proud to say I volunteer for them.”

PPE and social distancing rules are in place, so volunteers can be assured of a safe environment in which to work.

Want to know more? Call 01522 518 221 or email [email protected]

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