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Steven Pollard, a member of our serious injury team, shares his recent volunteering experience at one of the charity shops for St Luke’s Hospice. 

At Minster Law, we are encouraged to spend one day each year volunteering to provide help and support for a charity or good cause within our local community. This year, two colleagues and I chose to volunteer at St Luke’s Hospice in their Ecclesall Road store in Sheffield.  Having only joined Minster in January 2023, this was the first opportunity I had to participate in the CSR scheme.

St Luke’s is a charity providing care for people throughout Sheffield with terminal illnesses. They aim to control their symptoms and level of pain to give them the best possible quality of life. They also support family members and work to develop continual improvements in care for everyone affected by terminal illness. In addition to cancer patients, St Luke’s also helps people with other terminal illnesses including motor neurone disease, HIV, and end stage heart, lung, and kidney conditions. They help over 6,000 people every year, including providing support visits to people at home and 24-hour specialist palliative care in their In Patient Centre.

Whilst all of St Luke’s services are provided free of charge to patients, it takes £11.5 million every year to fund these services. The government fund 30% of this and the remaining £7.5 million needs to be raised via donations and fundraising. A big part of this is raised via the various charity shops they have throughout Sheffield, including the Ecclesall Road store we visited.

We arrived at the store at 9:30am and met with the store’s assistant manager, Dawn. Dawn works part time and is one of only two paid employees at the store, with the other being the store manager who was on annual leave that week. The store is a large one and for it to function, the charity relies on the kindness of a small number of regular volunteers. Unfortunately, these volunteers are unable to guarantee their attendance daily and therefore the start of every day means an anxious wait to see which of them can attend.

Myself and my colleagues spent most of the day sorting through bags of donated clothing and items, tagging and pricing the items and then taking them out onto the shop floor for sale. We also did various other tasks, including dressing several mannequins for display in the shop window. This was an eye-opening experience as I had just assumed that the items on the shop floor of a charity shop was everything they had. However, the store we visited had a basement full of books to be sorted and a second floor and attic full of bags of donated clothing and boxes of ‘brick-a-brac’ items that all had to be sorted through and cleaned before they could be put out for sale. Throughout the day we sorted through hundreds of items, and this only scratched the surface of the work that needs to be done daily to keep the store running.

I really enjoyed my time volunteering for St Luke’s Hospice, and I found it a rewarding experience knowing that I had helped, even in a small way, a fantastic charity.

More information about St Luke’s and how you can get involved with them can be found on their website.