New generation of teen volunteers will help get Nation’s charity shops
open and earning
Bringing young people together in a residential setting away from home is at the
heart of the NCS programme. Given the uncertainty about how long social distancing restrictions will be in place, it is sadly not possible for the 2020 summer programme to take place in its traditional format. Participants who were expecting to take part this summer will have the opportunity to be part of an alternative free NCS 2020 programmes.
At the start of National Volunteering Week, NCS launched a countrywide pledge to enable one million hours of doing good for teens to help them take an active role in helping the country recover post the extraordinary summer of COVID-19.
The One Million Hours Initiative is launching with a collaboration with the Charity Retail Association [CRA] to help get charity shops open and earning again. As charities struggle with loss of revenue during lockdown, there is an urgent need to support their reopening plans now the government has announced that shops in England can do so from 15th June.
The charity shop sector is reliant on volunteers but many are elderly and the CRA estimates that over half may not be able to return to their former positions immediately. To get this vital revenue stream flowing again it will be necessary to recruit a new army of volunteers to support up to 9,500 shops across England during their staggered openings.
From the 8th June teens will be able sign up at NCS to help their local charity shop to open again. Charities such as The Air Ambulance Service and Barnardo’s will be some of the first to benefit from having a pipeline of new volunteers.
As the UK's flagship youth programme, NCS understands how 16 and 17 years olds are desperate to step up and support their communities - many already are, but nearly half [44%] don’t know how to get involved to help. Often volunteer roles are for over 18's only.
NCS Trust CEO Mark Gifford explains: “NCS is perfectly positioned to harness the enthusiasm and talent of social conscious teens looking to make a positive impact in their local community. Since we launched our ‘Staying Connected’ hub on the NCS website last month, over 600,000 young people have engaged with it. The age barrier of being under 18 should not hold back this huge group of young national citizens who are ready to play a valuable role in our country’s recovery.
‘With many young people missing out on their planned work experience, volunteering will also provide an alternative route to develop essential life skills that can’t be learnt in a classroom environment. NCS will enable 16 and 17 year olds to turn a summer of disappointment and restrictions into a summer of ‘No We Can’.”
CRA CEO Robin Osterley added; “As Charities in England have the green light to open from mid June, most will be struggling with their urgent need to get this revenue source flowing but with a reduced volunteer workforce and all the essential safety measures that must be in place. Charity shops in the UK are losing customer sales of £3.4 million a day for their parent charities, yet are a much-loved part of the heart of High Streets up and down the country.
‘With the involvement of young people we can help ensure charity shops across the country are in the best possible position to reopen and thrive with a reinforced volunteer team. We know people have used the lockdown period to declutter their houses and we are expecting our members to be showered with stock as soon as they open their doors.”
This announcement follows the news of a repurposed version of the traditional NCS programme for this extraordinary summer. The Trust is also delivering content through NCS digital channels, focusing on the skills and life lessons not learnt in the classroom.
Nearly 100,000 teens have already accessed the content within the newly launched ‘Staying Connected Hub’ and there have been over 600,000 interactions with the content on social channels enabling young people across the country to make new connections during lockdown.
Sign up is NOW LIVE via the NCS website with teens able to start volunteering from the beginning of July onwards.