CHARITY shop volunteers in the West Midlands say giving up their time can help improve their mental wellbeing and ward off feelings of loneliness.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) surveyed 2,700 of its 17,000 charity shop volunteers, with many responding that volunteering enhances their wellbeing and helps them make connections.
Of those surveyed in the West Midlands, 94 per cent of respondents said volunteering has improved their mental health while 91 per cent of respondents said volunteering has helped them feel less isolated or lonely.
BHF volunteers – aged from 16 to over 80 – give anything from a couple of hours a month to a few days a week.
Sarah Boardman, retail volunteering operations manager at the BHF said: “Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our 700 nationwide shops – we are hugely grateful to each and every one, so it’s great to see that they get so much out of their time with us.
“The last two years have shown us the vital importance of human connection and it’s clear from these results that despite our volunteers coming from every age range, background and walk of life, when it comes to making connections and wanting to feel good about giving back, their time with us has a positive impact on their lives.”
Volunteer roles can include customer service, telephone and logistical administration, operating tills and merchandising on the shop floor.
Behind the scenes volunteers can take on warehouse assistant or specialist roles such as furniture assembly.
There are also opportunities to become volunteer stock collection drivers, stock generators and volunteer recruiters who get out in the local area.
The charity also offers online roles for those keen on honing their tech skills, by helping to research, photograph and list items for BHF’s online shops.
For more visit bhf.org.uk/signmeup.