Charity call for shop volunteers

Marie McKenna, St Oswalds Cramlington charity shop volunteer.
Marie McKenna, St Oswalds Cramlington charity shop volunteer.

St Oswald’s Hospice has revealed it has an urgent need for 135 more charity shop volunteers across the region.

It has launched its inaugural Retail Volunteer Recruitment Week, which runs until Saturday, in a bid to attract new people to give any spare time they can.

Teams at its shops, including in Northumberland, are showcasing the wide variety of opportunities on offer.

Marie McKenna from Cramlington, who is a regular volunteer at the St Oswald’s shop in the Brockwell Centre, first became aware of the charity in 1995 after her father-in-law received care at the Gosforth-based hospice.

Following his death, she became an active supporter and started playing the charity’s weekly lottery and signing up for regular updates on the work of the hospice.

The 66-year-old grandmother of two said: “It was through reading one of its newsletters that I first became involved with St Oswald’s charity shops.

“One of the main reasons I’ve volunteered for as long as I have is because of Brenda. She is a fantastic shop manager, a brilliant friend and a great asset to St Oswald’s.

“All the other volunteers are lovely and the customers are extraordinarily generous.

“We have many regular customers who enjoy coming in for chats and to have a browse of all the latest high quality stock to see what bargains we have in store each week.”

St Oswald’s retail area manager, Susan Freeman, said the charity created the Retail Volunteer Recruitment Week as a way to engage with the public face-to-face and bring volunteering to life in a fun way.

She added: “While potential volunteers might think we only want people that can dedicate a lot of time, this isn’t the case.

“We have a lot of volunteers that help out a couple of morning shifts a week, or an afternoon a week. Even just a few hours here and there really helps.”

For more information about the volunteering opportunities available at St Oswald’s shops and retail services, visit www.stoswaldsuk.org/volunteer or call the retail helpdesk on 0191 2469071.