Steve Wilks is a volunteer for the St Francis Hospice boutique in Wanstead and looks at the practical ways residents can support the charity by donating their time… or unwanted clothing.
Having had the obligatory spring clear out this year, the result was that I had accumulated bags of unwanted clothing and linen, which has been sitting in the cupboard but never seen the light of day. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to reduce clutter, and I then decided it would be better served taken to a local charity shop where someone could benefit from using it and a charity could make some money from it.
St Francis Hospice is one of the latest shops to open up on Wanstead High Street, and given its size and range of items sold, I thought it would make best use of the items to display.
St Francis Hospice is an independent charity that provides the very best in specialist care for local people with complex needs related to life-limiting illness, and inspires and educates others to support a service provided completely free of charge to patients and their families.
St Francis Hospice relies on donations from the public and sales made by volunteers in the shop to promote fundraising. They are looking for new volunteers who can spare a few hours during the day to man the till, sort out the stock of donations received daily for the shop and to present and merchandise this on the shop floor as well as answering queries.
The charity relies on the sales from its group of shops – which are located in the east London area – to fund its activities, so the more these shops can open with volunteer help, the more likely they can reach their goals. The charity’s retail outlets achieve an annual turnover of £2.4m, but the stores also help them raise awareness of the services they provide at the hospice and in the community.
I have a few hours to spare at the weekend, and having seen the advert requesting volunteers, I decided to help out on one of their busiest days. Potentially, they are looking to open on Sunday, so they are looking for more volunteers to help out then too. You can commit to as many or as few hours as you can manage. Every little helps. Full training and support will be given and a brief induction is provided.
It is a great thing to get involved with. You meet people from all walks of life who are often looking for something which they may not necessarily find elsewhere. You will also be amazed at the items that get donated, often some brand new items. So, if you are looking for a new dress or book or something to brighten up your home, pop in and see what is around. Remember, any donations are eligible for Gift Aid, which boosts proceeds even further.