St Oswald's faces further charity shop closures without volunteering support

Without this vital volunteering support, we’re fearing we will have to close some of our shops again, which would have a devastating impact on our income generation which helps to provide outstanding care services to thousands of families and patients from across the region.

Despite a huge demand from shoppers and customers wanting to rush back to buying, volunteering shortages has led to many of our shops having to temporarily close or reduce opening hours. A lack of volunteer van assistants is impacting on our ability to collect donations from supporters and transport donations to shops.

According to the Charity Retail Association (CRA) – the only UK body representing the interests of charity retailers, the average number of volunteers at a UK hospice charity shop is 20.7 – three times the figure of some of St Oswald’s Hospice shops.

Steph Edusei, Chief Executive at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “We’re extremely fortunate at St Oswald’s to have fantastic volunteers who regularly give up their time, skills and expertise, and offer us huge support right across our charity, including in our charity shops. Volunteers are the absolute lifeblood of St Oswald’s, and without them we wouldn’t be able to offer high quality expert care to local families when they really need us most.

“We were thrilled to re-open our shops recently and safely welcome back our customers into our shops again. But we’re now experiencing a crippling volunteering shortage throughout many of our shops which is undoubtedly going to impact on the money we can raise and the care we can provide.

“Working in a Hospice, we understand that time is precious and we are very grateful to everyone who already gifts us their time and energy to help us raise money to help others in our region. We’re now issuing an urgent plea to our wider local community, asking people to come forward to support their local charitable Hospice with the gift of time. Even just sparing an hour or two each week over the short term will help us immensely during this crucial and challenging period. Please speak to us about volunteering in your local St Oswald’s Hospice charity shop.

Steph continued:

“We have a huge variety of roles and shops across the region from Sunderland and Gateshead, across Newcastle and North Tyneside, and as far north as Morpeth. As well as helping us during this crisis to keep our doors open, volunteering at St Oswald’s Hospice is as much about what the volunteer gets out of the experience as well.

“Our volunteers tell us that volunteering helps them to build skills, enhance their CVs, allows them to give something back to support local people, experience new opportunities and make friends and enjoy social interaction with fun and friendly people. We’re confident we have a role for everyone so please get in touch as soon as you can.”

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