Celebrating Volunteers’ Week

This week is Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June, a chance to say thank you for the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. During an exceptionally difficult year, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to volunteer and made a huge difference to people and their communities – just as they do every year.

We know that specifically in the charity retail sector more than 230,000 volunteers support our shops and retail chains to run – which is fantastic.

One way we celebrate the amazing volunteers in our sector is through our annual awards, held slightly differently in November 2020 due to ongoing covid restrictions. We thought it would be a great time to share with you all details of the two volunteer award winners from last year and hear about how they support their charity. These are just two examples from thousands of volunteers, and we know there are dedicated, hardworking, inspirational volunteers across the sector helping our members to run their retail chain.

Firstly, Curtis Shaw was the winner of our Young Volunteer Award in November. Here is what White Rose had to say about him back in November:

“To sum up what Curtis has brought to the charity is difficult. His dedicated and enthusiastic approach to volunteering is nothing short of outstanding and something that words alone struggle to do justice.

Regularly volunteering 4 days a week for the last 20 months, Curtis has become a pillar of the team. Whether it was staying late to help open our new stores, helping customers pick out outfits or helping set up for Christmas parties, nothing was too much trouble. He often came in at late notice to help out when we were short of staff, and is one of the only team members to have worked in every single store we have. He was very happy to do whatever he was asked of and wherever he was asked to do it.

But it was his dedication throughout the recent lockdown that really shows why Curtis should truly be considered for this award. At a time when the majority of our staff had been furloughed, he was the only volunteer out of a volunteering workforce of over 60 who willingly stepped forward to help us during the tough times of a pandemic. No one expected any of our volunteers to step forward in the circumstances, but Curtis was in, showing the true selflessness that we have learned to love. Whilst most people were at home baking banana bread and binge watching Netflix, Curtis was sorting through donations and prepping the stores for reopening, helping set up our new online business throughout lockdown, something that has helped towards the stores’ survival, ensuring White Rose can continue running.”

Our second winner was for Volunteer of the Year and was awarded to Brian Peacock. Here is what Shelter had to say about him back in November:

“Brian began volunteering with Shelter in January 2019 at one of our furniture shops and very quickly established himself as a key member of the team. Brian offers his time in a number of volunteering roles at the shop – in fact there isn’t a role that he isn’t keen to give a go; he can switch it up from Van Driver’s Mate, to PAT tester, Stock room assistant, to Volunteer Supervisor all within the space of a day!

As a Volunteer Supervisor holding the shop when paid staff aren’t working, he not only supports his own shop, but as and when required other Furniture shops across the area, sometimes this can be with very short notice. This doesn’t faze him though and he arrives on shift every time with a smile on his face and attitude to match. Holding this volunteer role at Shelter can’t be underestimated, often our Retail Volunteer Supervisors hold the shop in the absence of paid staff for more than a day at a time. The knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm required means that we have just a handful of volunteers in each shop fulfilling these volunteering roles. 

During these unprecedented times, the nominee has been a beacon within the shop community; his calm, positive attitude shining though. He offers a reassuring shoulder to volunteer team members and actively encourages others to develop their own skills.”

We hope your charity will be celebrating your amazing volunteers this week and everything they do to support your cause. There are many resources out there to say thank you, why not take a look at a few of our suggestions below:

Volunteers’ Week website: a great resource full of ideas and inspiration, as well as marketing tools such as logos to help you get involved and thank your volunteers

Volunteer Now: they provide a voice for volunteering in Northern Ireland

NCVO: they provide monthly round-ups of volunteering news and developments, and champion the voluntary sector and volunteering because they’re essential for a better society

Volunteer Scotland: they exist to help you make a difference through volunteering in Scotland

WCVA: their purpose is to enable voluntary organisations in Wales to make a bigger difference together

The Big Lunch: Running from 5 June, it’s your chance to celebrate community connections and get to know one another a little better. Join in online, on your doorstep, or over the fence

Don’t forget to tag us this week on your social media posts celebrating the amazing retail volunteers! Just use #VolunteersWeek and the Charity Retail Association tags below:

Twitter @CharityRetail / Instagram @welovecharityshops / Facebook @charityretailassociation / LinkedIn @Charity Retail Association