A rallying call has been issued by a leading children’s charity volunteers to help re-stock its stores and help it recover from a £2 million income loss caused by the pandemic.
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children has re-opened its Volunteer Opportunity Centre to offer people a solution to the loneliness of isolation and furlough in line with NHS advice that volunteering can help mental wellbeing.
The charity is calling on people to give up a minimum of two hours, at a time to suit them, to support its retail team in getting as much stock out of its warehouses and into its stores as possible to continue providing vital equipment to families in need.
Tasks that will need to be carried out by volunteers include removing brand labelling from donated items using scissors and permanent marker pens and hanging up fashion items.
Anyone who completes more than 20 hours of volunteering will receive a discount in the charity’s fashion and homeware stores.
People who are interested in offering their support will be invited for a two hour trial shift then asked to volunteer for at least two to three hours when they can. Volunteers can help out when they wish and will just be asked to call to book in. Free refreshments will be provided and travel costs can be claimed.
Anyone interested in volunteering should click here and apply using the contact us form on the website.
Mrs Sheila Brown OBE, Co-founder and CEO of Newlife, said it would be an ideal opportunity for anyone who is currently furloughed and wants to volunteer for a good local cause.
She said: “We have an extremely loyal team of volunteers but we desperately need more to be able to ensure we can get as many fashion and homeware items as possible processed so they are on sale in our stores rather sitting in our warehouses. Having to close all of our shops for three months during lockdown has dealt a huge blow to our income, which we desperately need so we can support families in crisis.
“But we’re delighted to now be re-opening our stores and want to make sure we are giving customers as much choice as possible in the items on sale so they can help us bridge that shortfall.
“Whether you’re a furloughed worker or have a few hours to spare, this is a great opportunity to be part of the recovery of the pandemic in a friendly atmosphere and most importantly you’ll be changing the lives of disabled and terminally ill children.”
Scott Johnson started volunteering at Newlife after deciding he wanted to take his career in a new direction.
He said: “I had always worked on my own – for more than 20 years – and I wanted to do something different. Volunteering at Newlife let me see what it was like to be part of a team again and gain new skills.
“I also knew that Newlife provides services to disabled children and their families which are desperately needed and being part of that really appealed to me.”
After four months as a volunteer Scott successfully applied for a staff position with Newlife. He added: “I still see all the volunteers here regularly and everyone who comes gets so much out of it, they really look forward to coming in. Volunteering is one of the best decisions I made!”
Newlife was forced to temporarily shut the doors of all its stores, which sell goods donated by some of the country’s biggest retailers at a fraction of the price, in March following the virus outbreak.
The re-opening of its SuperStore and Home Store in Cannock received overwhelming support from loyal shoppers who flocked to grab a bargain. The charity’s store in Yardley, Birmingham, re-opens today (Friday 26th June).
Charity bosses have introduced strict social distancing and cleanliness measures to ensure the health and safety of its staff and volunteers is paramount. All re-opened stores are covid secure in line with government guidelines and have limited, safe and secure measures in place to protect both customers and staff.
More than 240 leading high street retailers and manufacturers from across the UK and Europe donate surplus items, faulty products and customer returns to Newlife instead of sending them to landfill. Newlife removes all labels to protect retailers from fraudulent returns and sells the items at much reduced prices.
All profits generated by Newlife’s stores support its vital charity work providing essential specialist equipment to disabled and terminally ill children around the UK, operating a nurse-run helpline and campaigning for change in local and national policies regarding the provision of equipment for disabled children.
Newlife is the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist disability equipment. Over the last three decades it has provided specialist equipment to more than 22,500 children as well as helping fund £15.7million of research.
Despite all of the charity’s stores temporarily closing when the country went into lockdown, losing its main income stream overnight, Newlife managed to keep its emergency equipment loans service and nurse-run helpline operating to ensure it could still help the families in most urgent need throughout lockdown.