Oxfam Scotland appeals for more volunteers as shops brace for deluge of donations

Byres Road music shop, Glasgow

Oxfam has issued an urgent appeal for volunteers to help its high street shops deal with an anticipated deluge of donations as it prepares to re-open its 41 Scottish stores from Monday 26 April.

Oxfam says that sales from the first day of trading following the re-opening of its English and Welsh shops were up 77% on 2019 figures, with it being the most successful Monday ever sales wise for the organisation outwith Christmas periods.

Scottish shop teams are now bracing for a significant number of donations following lockdown decluttering, combined with people seeking to offload unwanted Christmas gifts.

However, the charity says it has a shortfall of hundreds of volunteers in Scotland with some existing volunteers currently unable to return due to shielding. More volunteers are needed to help sort and sell the donations in order to raise as much money as possible for Oxfam’s vital work around the world.

Tom Richardson, Oxfam’s Interim Head of Retail, said: “The money raised by the dedicated staff and volunteers in Oxfam’s Scottish shops helps fight poverty and injustice around the world; providing people with lifesaving essentials like clean water and soap as well as the hope of a better future.

“We know from the last lockdown that people will have taken the chance to have a good declutter and we’re anticipating a deluge of generous donations. As we prepare to get back to business in a Covid-safe way we’re encouraging people from all walks of life who want to live in a fairer, more sustainable world to consider giving one of the greatest gifts of all: their time.”

Volunteers are asked to as little as a few hours a week of their time and can take up a range of vital roles, from serving customers to sorting donations and arranging window displays. Each shop typically relies on a team of 30 dedicated volunteers and one or two staff, with more than 1,400 volunteers required across the country.

As well as volunteers, Oxfam is also appealing for good quality donations, including clothing, books, music and bric-a-brac.

Richardson said: “People across Scotland have always been generous in their support of Oxfam’s shops, whether through shopping, donating or volunteering and we’re looking forward to safely welcoming people back through our doors. Given the volume of donations we’re anticipating, our stores promise to be treasure troves of gems for savvy, sustainable shoppers.”

Protecting staff, volunteers, and customers from Covid-19 remains Oxfam’s priority, with shop teams continuing to implement strict protocol, including social distancing, readily available hand sanitiser, masks and gloves for staff, screens at tills, regular and frequent cleaning, closed changing rooms and encouraging contactless payment.

In advance of Scottish shops re-opening, people are invited to register their interest in volunteering online.



For more information and interviews, please contact: Rebecca Lozza, Oxfam Media and Communications Adviser, Scotland and Wales: rlozza1@oxfam.org.uk / 07917738450  

Notes to Editors

  • Oxfam has a network of over 500 high street shops across Britain, including 41 in Scotland.
  • Once re-opened, Scottish shops will be accepting a wide range of donated items, including clothing and accessories, books, records, CDs, DVDs and homewares.

Oxfam’s Five Tips on How to Donate: 

  • Clean things. Wherever possible, put clothes and textiles through the washing machine and wipe down solid surfaces
  • Have a think about what items we can sell. Ask yourself, “Would someone I know buy this?” If the answer is “Yes”, we’d love to receive it.
  • Call ahead when you’re ready to donate, to check the best time for your local shop.
  • Stagger your donations, rather than bringing everything at once. We appreciate not everyone has lots of storage space and we’d be delighted to help clear your clutter from your home whenever the time is right and remember to bring your donations in bags or boxes which you don’t want back.
  • Remember to Gift Aid your donation, this scheme allows charities to claim 25% extra on the sale of your donations. When you tag your bag with Gift Aid we will also let you know how much money your items have raised for our work which includes supporting people facing coronavirus around the world.