Local charity faces further shop closures without volunteering support

May 3, 2021 @ 20:02 by Chloe Holmes

As retail outlets across the region re-open following the lifting of the latest government lockdown restrictions, local charity St Oswald’s Hospice has put out an urgent appeal to their North East community for volunteers to support their 25 regional high street charity shops.

Without this vital volunteering support, the local charity is fearing it will have to close some of its shops again, which would have a devastating impact on their 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 St Oswald’s shops having to temporarily close or reduce their opening hours.

A lack of volunteer van assistants is impacting on the charity’s ability to collect donations from supporters and transport donations to shops.

St Oswald’s Hospice, which needs to raise over £7.5 million each year through voluntary giving, is now concerned that the low volunteering numbers will have a drastic impact on the amount of money they’re able to raise.

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.

If you, or someone you know, may be interested in volunteering, you can contact the volunteering team at St Oswald’s Hospice for information. Email: volunteer@stoswaldsuk.org or give their volunteering team a call and leave a voicemail on 0191 246 9071. More details are available on their website: www.stoswaldsuk.org/volunteer.

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