Oxfam have been in the news for many of the wrong reasons lately, but it is important to remember that these are the actions of a few people and that the majority of what the charity do is good, positive and important. Their reputation is rightly tarnished and there must be investigations into not just how this happened but the cover ups that came with it, but I still feel the vast majority of what they do is as a force for good and we should not forget that even when faced with such terrible actions by a few.
Celebrities have been cranking up the feel-good factor and helping out at their local Oxfam shop to kickstart a volunteering trend in 2018.
TV presenter and Queen of the Jungle, Vicky Pattison, worked the till and dressed mannequins during her volunteer shift at Oxfam Boutique in Chelsea, London. Whilst comedian and actress Aisling Bea stacked shelves, uploaded items to the Oxfam Online Shop and made friends for life in Oxfam Islington. And TV presenter and funny man Harry Hill chatted with customers, made tea for staff, and uncovered hidden gems (including copies of his own DVD) in Oxfam Victoria Bookshop in London.
Vicky, Aisling and Harry join Shaun Ryder in supporting Oxfam’s ‘Give a Shift’ campaign, which asks the public to volunteer at their local Oxfam shop.
Research shows volunteering is not only a worthwhile way to spend your spare time for a good cause, it benefits the volunteer too. Studies conducted on behalf of Oxfam revealed volunteering increases social networks and improves job prospects.
Harry Hill agrees: “If you’re putting together a CV, volunteering will look great on that. And you get lots of experiences you wouldn’t otherwise get in life,” he said.
People can volunteer at Oxfam shops for as little as two hours a week. All volunteers are assured of a warm welcome, an interesting, worthwhile experience, and genuine appreciation of their support.
Vicky Pattison said: “I jumped at the chance to not only donate my time to a worthy cause, but to be surrounded by clothes! Oxfam do such wonderful work in giving millions of people around the world access to things that we take for granted every day, like clean water and food, and with Give a Shift it’s so easy for you to also get involved – just donate a few hours of your time to your local store and you will make such a big difference.”
Aisling Bea said: “I volunteered some of my time in my local Oxfam shop, firstly because it’s my childhood dream to see the backstage of a charity shop, and second of all, because its 2018, and so to be the opposite of 2017 why not do some good, but in a FUN way!”
Harry feels the same, he said: “I’ve really enjoyed looking behind the scenes of Oxfam. I’ve been coming here since I was 12. Now I’ve got to look behind the curtain. I’ve got to work the tills, and meet some very interesting customers. Anything that involves the public has potential to be fun. You never know who is going to walk in the door and what they are going to say to you.”
All volunteers are given on-the-job training and the chance to learn new skills, develop existing talents and take on responsibility. Everyone is valued and appreciated. The range of work includes pricing donations, sorting stock, updating the shop’s social media channels, using the till, photography, dressing the windows, and driving the van.
Oxfam shops rely on teams of volunteers to stay open. Last year, the network of 630 shops in the UK and the Oxfam Online Shop raised almost £22 million pounds for the charity’s work fighting extreme poverty and suffering in more than 60 countries around the world.
Daniel O’Driscoll, Oxfam Head of Volunteering said: “Put simply, without our team of amazing volunteers Oxfam shops could not open. Volunteers really are the heart and soul of our shops and we rely on them and appreciate their contribution hugely. We do all we can to make sure every volunteer has an enjoyable time, and gets what they hope for out of the experience.
“Every week, one volunteer giving a shift could raise enough money to give two people clean drinking water in Ethiopia. Or to provide one woman in Bangladesh with access to a safe bathing cubicle. Or to train six farmers in climate resilient farming techniques in Ghana.
“Of course, each volunteer is different and contributions vary. But what they all have in common is they are amazing, generous people who make the world a fairer, kinder place.”