Judi Thompson, an area volunteer co-ordinator for Oxfam, gives us a sneak peek behind the scenes.
Our shop volunteers work with customers and donors in a front-of-house role, often multi-tasking serving customers at the till with keeping the shop looking beautiful. There are also opportunities to get involved in a more behind-the-scenes role, selecting and preparing items for sale from our amazing donations. This might be category-specific e.g. books or fashion, or it could be a random assortment of items. And then there’s the option to do a bit of everything! Both our Twickenham and Teddington shops are particularly keen to recruit volunteers for the weekends.
Sandra (pictured above) has been volunteering at our Surbiton shop since June 2018. She says: “I enjoy the variety of the role; the contact with the customers and arranging the stock on the shop floor, as well as sorting books and clothes in the backroom”.
Oxfam shops are like mini department stores – there’s fashion, homeware, books, toys, music and films, as well as our ethical and sustainable Sourced by Oxfam range of new products. Our most recent recruits are positive about how welcome they have felt in the shops and how much they enjoy the variety of tasks. It is also heartening to hear how much their mental wellbeing has benefitted from the routine, interacting with others and having a sense of accomplishment.
We can take volunteers aged 14 years and upwards. However, demand is very high and one of our current challenges is that we don’t have enough adult volunteers to safeguard and supervise the younger volunteers. Most of our shops are currently at capacity for those under 18. This is usually seasonal with the start of the academic and calendar year being particularly busy. The lockdowns have most likely contributed to a backlog of young people wanting to take part in volunteering to complete their Duke of Edinburgh awards.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering should pop in to their local Oxfam shop and ask to speak to the manager. Alternatively email Judi Thompson email@example.com or complete the online application form: oxfam.org.uk/volunteer