British Heart Foundation charity shop on Ecclesall Road pleads for help as it battles to recover from pandemic

A charity shop on one of Sheffield’s busiest streets has appealed for urgent help as it seeks to bounce back from the pandemic.

By Oliver Wood
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 10:34 am

The British Heart Foundation is looking for help to get more donations and volunteers into its Ecclesall Road store, as the charity continues its recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

Since March 2020, the UK charity shop industry has been hit massively and the store is still seeing some of the effects, 22 months later.

Being closed for periods of 2020 and 2021, the charity store has gone through immense difficulties in raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

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British Heart Foundation shop on Ecclesall Road. L-R Area Manager Mick Parkin, Aya Zaggoti Majdaoui, Sue Land and Carol Mappin. Picture Scott Merrylees

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A lack of donations and stock has caused these difficulties for charities all around the UK, with fewer sales meaning less money is being contributed to provide the lifesaving research which the BHF does.

Mik Parkin, area manager of British Heart Foundation, works for stores in Sheffield, Chesterfield and Nottingham and has been working to try and rebuild what the charity had pre-pandemic.

Ultimately, they have lost £60 million as a national charity due to Covid and this is having an impact on the research.

British Heart Foundation shop on Ecclesall Road. Volunteer Aya Zaggoti Majdaoui. Picture Scott Merrylees.

Mr Parkin said: “The lack of business caused by the pandemic has hit a huge whole on research projects and has impacted the live saving work we can do.”

The charity and its Ecclesall Road store want to encourage people to volunteer and donate goods to sell, so they can start to return to normality.

Mr Parkin said: “Most of our volunteers here are the older generation and since the pandemic it has been hard to get them, as they have been a bit nervous about coming back. We managed to keep a lot of volunteers but ultimately we will always need them, as without volunteers we’re nothing. It’s the people that we’ve got that make every single shop.”

British Heart Foundation shop on Ecclesall Road. Assistant Manager Sue Land. Picture Scott Merrylees.

But it’s not just what the volunteers do for the charity – becoming a volunteer for a charity like BHF can help people out as well.

Mr Parkin said: “A lot of volunteers actually come to us for social contact because people can be quite isolated, and this is their social group that they can come to and help the community out in the process.”

The store on Ecclesall Road store was severely affected by the pandemic and people including the volunteers were affected.

Assistant manager Sue Land said: “During the pandemic, it was so difficult to contact them and check in on them because some people that volunteer to us are vulnerable, so it works in different ways.”

British Heart Foundation shop on Ecclesall Road. Volunteer Ben Taylor. Picture Scott Merrylees.

But pre-pandemic levels, volunteers were easier to get.

Mr Parkin said: “We’ve done everything we possibly can. We’re getting a lot more students and younger people coming through or people. It’s a good opportunity to have experience or give back to the community.”

It is the younger generation that is getting more involved with the charity, with one of the volunteers Ben Taylor, 22, getting involved when he was out of work last year.

Mr Taylor said: “There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that your helping people out, it’s so heartening to see how many people are giving their time and effort to help the charity, helping out for an amazing cause is the least I can do.”

The stores rely on volunteers and also people donating stock. Despite receiving more stock and donations in the last few months, levels are a lot lower than normal.

Mrs Land said: “We have got a lot of stock put away, but we are desperate for more at the moment.”

British Heart Foundation shop on Ecclesall Road. Volunteer driver Mick Land. Picture Scott Merrylees

The assistant manager’s husband Mick works as a delivery driver and goes round Sheffield picking up people’s donations.

Mrs Land said: “Were doing everything we can for the store, my husband’s volunteering and picks things up two to three times a day. We’re all working hard to try and work back what we’ve lost during the pandemic.”

Mr Parkin says he aims to run the London Marathon in October for the charity and is trying to get more money raised so they can help fund more vital research projects.

The research projects include a number carried out by the University of Sheffield.

Mr Parkin said: “I’d really love to do just get back to normal, I’d like to think we’re really good at what we do, and we’ve had to make a lot of adjustments during the pandemic.”

He is encouraging people to do anything they can to help the charity by donating items to be sold to raise cash.

He said: “If anyone around Sheffield has anything then we’d love to have them, because this could help save lives. Everybody wins really because you can have a spring clear out, you know it’s going somewhere sustainable and it’s going to have a chance to beat Britain’s bigger killer. We do everything we can.”

Despite, the effects of the pandemic, it seems that the British Heart Foundation store on Ecclesall Road is continuing where it left off. But in terms of stock and donations, it still needs help, so it can continue to make breakthroughs to help people with heart problems.

If anyone would like to donate any stock to the British Heart Foundation, call 0800 915 3000 to be put in touch with your nearest BHF store.