Faculty Services Management Team #getinvolved with Volunteers’ Week

As part of this year’s Volunteers’ Week, our Health and Wellbeing Faculty Services Management Team spent their away day joining forces with St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield. Here’s Ben Machin (professional issues officer) describing how the day went . . .

Gemma Lancaster had kindly arranged for us to volunteer at the St Luke’s retail outlet in Gleadless. To anyone not familiar with St Luke’s, they are a Sheffield-based charity whose vision is to ‘support and care for everyone affected by terminal illness in Sheffield’, whilst their mission is to ‘deliver the best possible palliative care in Sheffield’.

“We were welcome in the morning by Claire (manager) and Emma (assistant manager). Claire and Emma allocated us to various areas of the shop. It quickly became apparent that the ‘back room’ was a hive of activity with considerable amount of volunteers tasked with keeping a conveyor belt of donations moving.

Ben hard at work

“Though it was a rather cool day – and we’d been advised to bring a jumper – it quickly became hot and sweaty as we lugged around bags of donations, sorted out the stockroom and had the steamer on full flow. The most unnerving part of the day was opening a bag not knowing what the contents will be. Perhaps washed and ironed clothes? Wishful thinking! The find of the day went to Rebecca Hirst-Nelson who was registering donated books on Amazon based on the marketplace price when she came across a Sheffield United book valued at £100. I only presume this was provided by either a generous donor or someone who didn’t spot a diamond in the rough!

“More than anything, we were taken aback by the real sense of community spirit within the staff. Many of the volunteers were retired, some of whom had lost their partners and wanted to form new friendships, whilst a couple of young volunteers were looking to increase their skillsets and employability. Collaboratively it worked and most importantly, everyone had a sense of belonging and knew they were making a real difference to a worthy cause. I discovered that St Luke’s was not only a donations shop that raised vital funds for a highly valued local charity, but that it also gives a committed community of volunteers a continued sense of purpose and belonging.

“After a very enjoyable day at St Luke’s, here are my top tips for those considering making a donation:

  • Wash clothes and linen before you donate (St Luke’s don’t have a washing machine or anywhere to hang the clothes out to dry)
  • Register for Gift Aid (this raised 20% extra)
  • Don’t send your rubbish – this just ends up in the bin!

Katie getting involved with one of the regular volunteers

“Finally, I would strongly encourage all staff to consider how you can #getinvolved next year. This doesn’t have to be a management lead, you can be a trailblazer! It’s a fantastic opportunity to understand the issues affecting the local Sheffield community, build collaborative relationships, improve your team work and make an active contribution to the Leading Locally, Engaging Globally strategy pillar.”

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ―H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Further information about St Luke’s

In their 2017/8 end of year report, St Luke’s drew on the importance of the retail chain citing:

“Our award-winning retail chain has continued to raise vital funds to support our care – tripling the income they’ve generated in the last 10 years. The success of our 14 shops is testament to our dedicated and tireless staff and volunteers, as well as the generosity of the people of Sheffield. Throughout 2017/18:

  • 200,000 bags of clothes, accessories, household goods, books, toys CD’s and DVD’s were donated
  • 858,799 individual items were sold in our shops, generating over £2.4 million to support our services
  • Almost 6300 vintage treasures and collectibles were snapped up on eBay and Amazon, raising and astonishing £116,746
  • 399,591customers shopped in our chain of charity shops throughout the year.
  • Hundreds of volunteers donated an amazing 87,383 hours of their time to support us with sorting donations and serving our customers, to create beautiful window displays and running our St Luke’s eBay and Amazon sites. “

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