British Heart Foundation launches urgent appeal for shop volunteers

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has launched an urgent appeal for volunteers to work at its charity shops after losing more than 2,500 during the Covid-19 health crisis.

Unless more volunteers come forward the charity will be forced to reduce its opening hours.

The Operation Elf recruitment drive aims to encourage members of the public to give up any time they can to volunteers in one of its 712 local shops in the run up to Christmas.

“December is one of the busiest times of the year,” for the charity’s retail network, said BHF.

“But sadly, we may be forced to reduce opening hours if they cannot recruit more volunteers ahead of the festive season. This could reduce funds that can be turned into lifesaving heart research,” it said.

Retail volunteering operations manager Sarah Boardman said: “Volunteers are our lifeblood. “We simply cannot operate our shops and stores without their generous support.

“Currently, our volunteering hours are down 20 percent compared to pre-Covid and we have on average 2,500 fewer volunteers each week supporting our shops and stores.

“This Christmas we’re asking the British public to donate to us the gift of time and give whatever hours they can.”

She added that volunteering can help people’s confidence, opportunities to meet new people and gain retail experience.

“Every hour given will help us raise funds to support those living with heart and circulatory diseases,” she added.

Volunteers are needed for roles to answer telephone calls from customers, operating tills and online retail roles in helping to research, photograph and list items.

Charity retail income was badly hit amid lockdowns during the pandemic but picked up again as restrictions eased.

The British Heart Foundation was among charities to report record breaking sales earlier this year.

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