Latest Statistics Show Significant Increase in Youth Volunteers
Dania Kamal Aryf
Image description: Emily Wright, a fair-skinned youth with dark hair, clad in a purple jacket, smiling.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) recently announced that their charity has seen a surge in youth volunteers aged 16-24, and are encouraging more to join their cause.
Since September 2021, the charity has reported a 44% rise in youth volunteers – including those volunteering on-site, and those assisting with the BHF’s online sales via platforms such as Depop and e-Bay.
Initial stages of Covid economic upheaval had significantly impacted the BHF’s income, and resulted in a loss of nearly 2,500 people no longer being able to volunteer and support local shops.
Despite recent months seeing an encouraging recovery in the charity’s retail sales, they are still urging many local communities to offer support by volunteering with their nearest BHF shop.
The charity is also particularly looking to recruit younger volunteers, and has been encouraging participation through the nationwide Student Volunteering Week, which took place on 7th-13th February 2022.
Volunteers are able to participate in a wide-range of tasks suited to their own abilities – including merchandising, telephone and logistical administration, research and photography, or behind-the-scenes tasks such as warehouse assistants or stock collection drivers.
“It’s fantastic to see a new generation of volunteers recognising the benefits of being part of our team. We welcome volunteers of all ages and it’s clear to see that our younger team members really relish learning new skills that can be used on their CV, to help them gain employment,” says Retail Volunteering Operations Manager, Sarah Boardman.
“We are still in desperate need of volunteers as our shops recover from the pandemic. Volunteering at the BHF is a great opportunity to meet new people, boost your confidence, gain retail experience and help give unwanted items a new lease of life. Every hour given helps us raise funds to support those living with heart and circulatory diseases,” she continues.
According to Sarah, volunteering hours are incredibly flexible, and individuals are able to commit according to their own schedule, and that volunteers are able to commit “just a few hours each week, or a few days.”
Emily Wright (pictured above), a student volunteer from Manchester, says, “I lovevolunteering at my local BHF. There’s such a great variety of stuff to do, you couldn’t possibly get bored. I love being on the shop floor talking to all the customers. The stock they get is amazing, it’s like being in a treasure trove every day.”
“Reusing people’s unwanted things is (also) really important to me,” she continues. “I love fashion – but not fast fashion and the impact it has on the planet. So I feel that charity retail is doing something positive. It’s great to know the money we raise in the shop is going to a fantastic cause too.”
This year, the BHF aims to save around 71,000 tonnes of goods from going to waste, by selling 14,000 tonnes of preloved clothes, and over half a million pieces of living room furniture. This will help prevent 135,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere, while also raising funds for crucial research into heart diseases, stroke, vascular dementia, and diabetes.