Oxfam issues urgent appeal for more shop volunteers in Scotland

Oxfam has issued an urgent appeal for volunteers to help its high-street shops deal with an anticipated “deluge” of donations as it prepares to reopen its 41 Scottish stores this Monday.

The charity pointed out that sales from the first day of trading following the reopening of its English and Welsh shops were up 77 per cent on 2019 figures, and it was the most successful Monday ever, sales-wise, for the organisation outside of the festive season.

With its Scottish shops set to reopen this Monday, Oxfam says it has a shortfall of hundreds of volunteers north of the Border, with some of its existing team currently unable to return due to shielding.

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Oxfam's music shop on Glasgow's Byres Road - one of 41 of the charity's stores in Scotland. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam.
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The organisation’s interim head of retail Tom Richardson said: “The money raised by the dedicated staff and volunteers in Oxfam’s Scottish shops helps fight poverty and injustice around the world, providing people with life-saving essentials like clean water and soap as well as the hope of a better future.

“As we prepare to get back to business in a Covid-safe way, we’re encouraging people from all walks of life who want to live in a fairer, more sustainable world to consider giving one of the greatest gifts of all: their time.”

Volunteers are asked to give as little as a few hours a week and can take up a range of roles from serving customers to sorting donations and arranging window displays. Each shop typically relies on a team of 30 dedicated volunteers and one or two staff, with more than 1,400 volunteers required across Scotland – but the latter number is thought to currently be down by about 40 per cent.

As well as volunteers, Oxfam is appealing for good-quality donations, including clothing, books, music and bric-a-brac.

Mr Richardson added: “People across Scotland have always been generous in their support of Oxfam’s shops, whether through shopping, donating or volunteering, and we’re looking forward to safely welcoming people back through our doors. Given the volume of donations we’re anticipating, our stores promise to be treasure troves of gems for savvy, sustainable shoppers.”

Oxfam also says protecting staff, volunteers, and customers from Covid-19 remains a priority, with shop teams continuing to implement “strict” protocol.

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