Six months ago Trinity Hospice started advertising for time-specific roles for the first time - these opportunities last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. A huge part of coming up with these roles was thinking about the kind of volunteers they wanted to attract but who would not have been eligible in the past. For example, full time positions which run from three weeks to three months are perfect for European exchange students visiting London.

After taking all these things into account, they launched three shorter term opportunities across the 26 shops and retail head office.

Student work experience 

Accepting students, aged 16 and over, who would like work experience in a retail environment. Between June and August they placed a total of 55 students, typically volunteering full time for one week to a month, including students who have come over from Europe for a short stay they gain valuable retail experience whilst also improving their language skills when talking to customers.

Feedback from Benjamin, a French work experience student "As a French student, the experience has been a very good occasion to try to improve my English. It is so rewarding when you help people find clothes that they like while raising funds for the charity at the same time. If I had to do it all again, I would without hesitation! The shop offers so many opportunities - if you want to be in contact with people, you can help them to find what they want on the shop floor or take care of the till. If you are not at ease with customers, you can still ask to accomplish different vital tasks for the shop in the back.”

Speed volunteering

Speed volunteering was designed by Do-It.Org and Team London to allow organisations to advertise for short, one-off volunteering opportunities. So far, they have placed 12 speed volunteers in head office roles and an additional six at the Pimlico shop.

They shape the adverts to fit the specific needs of each shop, such as “Clothing Donations Volunteer” or “E-Commerce Assistant.”

Rachel worked as an E-Commerce Assistant Volunteer for two days in the retail head office, listing products on our Amazon account. She explains: “Working at a management consultancy means that sometimes I am “on the bench” between projects. When I saw speed volunteering advertised, I felt it was the perfect way to keep busy while doing something worthwhile.”.

Corporate group volunteering 

Corporate organisations are often looking for opportunities for their staff members to get out of the office and volunteer for a good cause. This June, they hosted over 72 corporate volunteers in different group sizes who contributed over 400 volunteer hours in total.

They also hosted their biggest ever corporate volunteering day to date, with a group of 56 volunteers from AON who were split across the retail head office and 7 different shops. They helped with tasks including clearing shop basements and dropping donation sacks through letterboxes.

Clapham Shop Manager Janet, commented that the help allowed the shop to concentrate more on sales and put them ahead of schedule by nearly two months.

Roger was one of the AON employees who took part. He said:

“‘There was no way the [shop team] would have been able to sort out the piles of donations they had in storage had we not been there. We had a great day, had fun and crucially felt like we made a difference to the shop.”

Corporate days are also important to us as they help break down peoples’ preconceptions of what charity shops are like. Often corporate volunteers are pleasantly surprised by how the shops look, as they have an old fashioned idea of them being dusty, dingy places.

For more information visit Royal Trinity Hospice