Charity shops urgently appeal for volunteers as shortage threatens to impact funding

Despite a strong bounce back in retail sales following the pandemic, charity retailer the British Heart Foundation is urgently appealing for volunteers, after losing more than 2,500 from its shops during the pandemic.  

This month, the charity is launching its Operation Elf recruitment drive, encouraging the public to give any time they can in the run up to Christmas and support their local BHF shop.  

December is one of the busiest times of year for the charity’s 712 nationwide shops, but sadly some may be forced to reduce opening hours if they cannot recruit more volunteers ahead of the festive season. This could reduce funds that can be turned into life-saving heart research. 

 “Volunteers are our life-blood,” says Retail Volunteering Operations Manager Sarah Boardman. “We simply cannot operate our shops and stores without their generous support.  

“Currently, our volunteering hours are down 20 percent compared to pre-Covid and we have on average 2,500 fewer volunteers each week supporting our shops and stores. This Christmas we’re asking the British public to donate to us the gift of time and give whatever hours they can.” 

The BHF has plenty of exciting volunteering roles available for those looking to support their local community, improve their wellbeing and widen their social network while supporting a good cause and helping the environment.    

“You can commit just a few hours each week or a few days,” says Sarah. “Volunteering at the BHF is a great opportunity to meet new people, boost your confidence, gain retail experience and help us give unwanted items a new lease of life.Every hour given will help us raise funds to support those living with heart and circulatory diseases.” 

Volunteers can get involved in tasks such as telephone and logistical administration, operating tills, merchandising on the shop floor and answering customer queries. The charity also offers online roles for those keen on honing their tech skills, by helping to research, photograph and list items for BHF’s online shops. 

Behind the scenes volunteers can take on warehouse assistant or specialist roles which can provide transferrable skills that are perfect for future job applications. There are also opportunities to become volunteer stock collection drivers, stock generators and volunteer recruiters who get out in the local area.     

Currently, 7.6 million people in the UK are living with heart and circulatory diseases. The charity says that the support of volunteers is more vital than ever as it hopes to inspire the local community to give the gift of time to save and improve lives.

The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on the BHF’s income, which is why the charity is now urging communities to support their nearest shop by taking up flexible volunteering opportunities.  

This year, the BHF will save around 71,000 tonnes of goods from going to waste, by selling over half a million pieces of living room furniture and 14,000 tonnes of preloved clothes.  

Every pound raised in BHF shops helps the charity to support those living with heart and circulatory diseases. Your gift of time can help the BHF, help them.  

For more information on how to get involved head to https://www.bhf.org.uk/elf or find your local shop at bhf.org.uk/shop 

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