BHF pays tribute to its volunteers as shops reopen ahead of National Volunteering Week 2021.

Over the last few weeks as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it has been wonderful to see our BHF Scotland shops reopen – giving us the opportunity to welcome back our staff, volunteers and customers across the country. And it has been truly heart-warming to see so many people coming through our doors.

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 cannot be underestimated. They play a huge role in funding our vital research. From beds to bookcases, kettles to cameras, toasters to toys, clothes to cookware – 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.

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.

As we continue to welcome back our customers and prepare to mark National Volunteering Week next month (1-7 June), I also want to pay tribute to those volunteers and encourage others to join our team. The 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% of respondents told us that volunteering had helped them to meet new people and 83% 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.

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 really is something for everyone. People with heart and circulatory diseases have never needed you more. Volunteering with us means we can help you and you can help the BHF save and improve lives.

This article also appeared in The Scotsman newspaper on the 11th May 2021.

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