Shops volunteering

Looking for something new to do in the new year? How about volunteering in one of Scope’s shops?

Last year, 7,874 volunteers across Scope donated 1.7 million hours of their time. Many of them worked in one of our 247 shops in a variety of roles. See the types of volunteer roles on offer.

It was bitterly cold when I left my cosy computer to volunteer at my local Scope shop but I received a warm welcome from Thatcham shop manager Marlene Dredge, who has 34 volunteers, including disabled volunteers from Mencap Link and people doing community service, but can always use an extra pair of hands.

The Thatcham shop is the top seller of Christmas cards in the Berkshire area, having sold over one thousand packs. The shop also won third place in the window display competition in the Kingsland Centre this year – not bad considering the display was made with donated goods and no budget!

The volunteers love dressing up and recently created a winter wonderland with resident characters such as the Ice Princess, Snowman, Mrs Santa and Bah Humbug.

Although it’s a fun atmosphere, Marlene keeps everyone busy! That morning, there were more takeoffs at Thatcham than at Gatwick airport – Marlene took 334 items of clothing off the show floor to send for sale to the Petersfield shop. Folding and bagging clothes is quite tiring but worth it to keep the stock fresh for the shop’s many regular customers who help raise upwards of £2,000 a week to fund Scope’s work.

Despite horror stories of soiled (that’s being polite) clothing, nappies and sanitary towels (why? What’s wrong with the dustbin?), most of the donations we received on the day were clean, saleable and of good quality. A house clearance caused a bit of a panic in the small stock room – we could hardly move for stuff but Marlene says, “We accept everything, except bulky furniture, electrical items and husbands with suitcases!”

Nevertheless, we were relieved when the textiles lorry made it through the snow from Kent to take away the rags we couldn’t sell! Find out what Scope shops want. 

The highlight of my day was meeting Violet, who comes in every afternoon to work on the till and keep the bric-a-brac stocked up. She set up the original Spastics Society shop in Thatcham over 20 years ago and still is full of enthusiasm for volunteering.

Volunteer for Scope shops and, like Violet, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are making a vital difference to our work with disabled people.

You’ll learn new skills and gain retail experience as well as meeting new people and becoming part of a team.

You could also gain:

  • Professional qualifications
  • Community spirit – feel part of your local area
  • Disability awareness – you’ll learn more about Scope’s work
  • Paid work – learn about and apply for job vacancies at Scope

If you would like to volunteer, please contact your local Scope shop to discuss your interests and find out which roles are available.