Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do - James Jopling

Like many people, having spent so much time at home over the last year, I’ve had a bit of a clear out and declutter. And so I have personal as well as professional reasons for being amongst the first customers back in our BHF Scotland shops, as lockdown restrictions eased. It was heart-warming and humbling to see so many others had the same idea.

BHF has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of all those who come in store is their top priority.

There is no doubt that the last year has been the most difficult in the BHF’s history. The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on our income and as a result, research funding had to be cut in half, putting future life saving discoveries at risk.

The significance of our 76 shops in Scotland and those across the rest of the UK, opening their doors once again, cannot be underestimated. They play a huge role in funding our vital research. Every item donated and sold can help us support the 700,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases in Scotland and will aid our recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

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The great thing about donating to the BHF is that we are able to accept a huge variety of items - everything from beds to bookcases, kettles to cameras, toasters to toys, clothes to cookware. As long as items are in good condition, we’d love to find a new home for them and we need your help now more than ever.

British Heart Foundation Shops are now open.

The BHF’s network of shops across Scotland and the UK also provides a wider benefit to society. Last year alone, our shops saved 71,000 tonnes of items from ending up in landfill. That includes around 200,000 sofas, as well as other furniture, electrical items, books, toys and 14,000 tonnes of clothing.

It has taken a huge amount of work behind the scenes to enable us to reopen and a huge debt of gratitude must go to our staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of all those who come in store is our top priority.

And as we welcome back our customers, I also want to pay tribute to those volunteers. Their gift of time is vital to the BHF and our volunteers are at the heart of everything we do.

The past year has significantly impacted many people’s wellbeing, employment and confidence. Taking on a volunteering role with the BHF could help. We know that volunteering has a significantly positive impact on those who give their time. In our recent survey, 80 per cent of respondents told us that volunteering had helped them to meet new people and 83 per cent said that volunteering contributes to their overall happiness. Seven in ten said they’d learned new skills and more than half said they felt more confident when applying for a job.

James Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland

The range of opportunities available suits students keen to develop their skills, people wanting experience to get back into employment or members of the community hoping to meet new people. Volunteers can get involved in tasks such as administration, merchandising on the shop floor and customer queries.

We also offer online roles for those keen on honing their tech skills, by helping to research, photograph and list items for the BHF’s online shops. There are warehouse activities or specialist roles which can provide transferrable skills for job applications. There are also volunteer stock collection drivers, stock generators and volunteer recruiters who get out in the local area.

Volunteering provides great opportunities and there‘s something for everyone. Volunteering with us means we can help you and you can help the BHF save and improve lives.

With lockdown easing and our high streets re-opening, please do come to donate, shop or volunteer with BHF Scotland. People with heart and circulatory diseases have never needed you more.

Find out more at www.bhf.org.uk

James Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland

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