A team from Arval recently took part in a day of volunteering, kindly giving their time and effort to Prospect Hospice by helping to sort stock at their central distribution centre in Wroughton. Items are sorted there that have been donated to them to sell in their 17 shops, and it’s one of the areas that has benefited hugely from the contribution of volunteers. Volunteers help to ensure that they can maximise the value of the donations and also generate income from recycling activities rather than sending items to landfill.
Members of the Arval team had the following to say about the day:
“When we arrived we met Amy who spent some time explaining what we were going to be doing and how it makes a difference to the service they provide at the hospice and in the local community, and that they rely hugely on volunteers. Most of the day was spent sorting through clothes and books/DVD’s and CD’s to look at those that were suitable to sell in the local shops or to be sold by the bag/create. It was rewarding to know that everything we sorted either in good condition or had seen better days had a value and that money was being used to provide much needed support. There was so much to go through, that the day flew by, and by the end I was knackered, but it was good to know that we helped to make a difference” – MARK
‘’We began our day by sorting donated clothes into ‘Rag’ (where they are sent to developing countries) and ‘Shop’ (delivered to one of the charity shops). We had to separate the bulk from the really good quality, shop ready items. It was surprising what you come across and it was interesting to know just how much money the Prospect makes from those that are ‘Rag’. It makes you realise they really do appreciate every donation.
After lunch I concluded the day working in the warehouse sorting through the toys. This was a cage of items that the team do not normally have the opportunity to clear, as they are busy keeping on top of the donations they receive on a daily basis. They really do rely on volunteers like us to help with the backlog of tasks. It felt like such an achievement to clear the cage of toys into categories, and get them prepared to be sent to a local charity shop the next day. We all really enjoyed our time with Prospect and hope to be back next year!’’ – AMY
‘’It isn’t until you have the opportunity to volunteer somewhere like the warehouse for the Prospect that you realise how dependent such organisations are on volunteers, and how labour intensive the work is. I completely underestimated the scale of the operation, and how many people would be there doing their bit and helping out. Everyone was really friendly, and took the time to explain what we were doing, why, and the benefits. The whole team enjoyed the day. We could visibly see what we had achieved, people were appreciative of our efforts, and we all went away feeling really positive’’ – LINDA
‘’My time was spent mostly sorting the winter and summer clothing bags into rag, and top notch items to go straight into sale in the shops. It was nice to know that whilst it is called rag, and there was a lot of rag, that it wasn’t just going to be got rid of, but would go to help those in Afghanistan, Pakistan etc., people that you know will be extremely grateful for such items. We had to be pretty brutal with the decisions we were making, shops now only want to take the decent stuff. I think this certainly got easier throughout the day, as the more bags we were getting through! It was a great team effort on the day and I was chuffed with what we achieved, albeit a bit chilly in the warehouse’’ – DANNI
Amy Francombe reiterated the crucial role that volunteers play in helping Prospect Hospice to keep providing it’s services:
“We are very pleased to have a good and productive relationship with the helpful team at Volunteer Centre Swindon. We have had a great number of volunteers from local organisations that have been put in touch with us by Involve Swindon and they have been a great resource for us as a local charity. With costs of £8.4m and only 28% funding, volunteers play a vital part in enabling us to ensure that most of the funds we raise go directly to the care and support of patients and families in Swindon and North Wiltshire.”