Volunteers are worth their weight in gold but more are needed to ensure charity’s long-term sustainability

The head of a charity retail operation says volunteer support is pivotal to the organisation’s long-term sustainability.

Ian Nicolson is Director of Retail and Trading at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), which has 44 shops across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

The charity supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.

It relies on voluntary donations for the majority of its income and needs to raise £5.4 million from its shops during 2022.

Ian says that will only be possible with the help and support of volunteers and was speaking during the launch of EACH’s We Need You campaign – a recruitment drive that starts today and runs until 28th January.

“In terms of volunteer numbers, we’re still desperately trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” he said.

“We’re down 21% compared to the figures pre-COVID and that’s some improvement, because at one point it was 50%.

“However, in real numbers, that equates to just short of 200 volunteers and, as a result, our shops remain under heavy pressure because donations are up more than 30% on pre-COVID levels.

“It’s a perfect storm between those levels being up and volunteer numbers being down.

“Sales are booming, which is fantastic, but it’s creating enormous pressure in our shops because we don’t have the resources to process everything.

“As a result, we’re spending a lot more on staff primarily through paying for more sales assistants and relief managers.”

Ian hopes the We Need You campaign proves as successful as in 2021, when nearly 150 people stepped forward to join the EACH cause.

He says volunteers are worth their weight in gold and make the operation viable.

“Volunteering is rewarding on so many levels,” he said.

“You get to work with a great bunch of people, be part of a loved charity shop and make a huge difference to the lives of the children we care for by helping the retail team raise such a significant amount of money for the charity.

“Without volunteers charity retail isn’t a viable operation. It’s as simple as that and why we’re so hopeful this campaign strikes a chord with people and encourages them to make contact.”

For more information about volunteering, head to www.each.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering or email volunteerservices@each.org.uk

There are a host of roles available and the charity is keen to hear from anyone who has time to spare, even if just a couple of hours a week.


Notes to Editors

“Without EACH I really don’t believe we would have made it this far together as a family. They make a really hard time just that little easier to deal with.”

  • We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
  • We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).
  • Our family-centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies and counselling, all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
  • We are recognised as leaders in our field, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to pioneering development and innovation.
  • We rely on voluntary donations for the majority of our income and this year need to raise £5.5 million from fundraising and £5.4 million in income from our shops. The year before the pandemic we received just 16% of our total income from statutory sources.
  • EACH Royal Patron – Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge
  • For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds, visit www.each.org.uk
  • Keep in touch:








For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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