When you hear the phrase "retail volunteering" you probably imagine an older lady behind a till in a charity shop surrounded by piles of "jumble"? But the reality is very different with many charity shops being well stocked and laid out and having a diverse range of volunteers.

There is so much more to retail volunteering, which is why we have decided to make it our focus throughout June.

Whilst it is true that there are plenty of opportunities to get behind the till (and gain valuable retail experience if you are looking for work in that field) there are so many other things that you can do including arranging window displays and merchandising, sorting new donations and stock control, warehouse and back-room operations, recruiting, supervising, training and supporting volunteers, pick-up and delivery driving and supporting online retail operations.

And here are just some of the many great charities looking for retail volunteers in Cornwall right now:


  • Retail Customer Services – Bodmin Furniture store


The Fishermen’s Mission

  • Need for volunteers at our Charity Shop in Helston


Oxfam – Truro shop

  • Specifically need volunteers for Tuesday , Wednesday and Friday afternoons for the till
  • Have an online shop and are looking for volunteers for data entry


Oxfam – Launceston shop

  • Opportunities for those who want to work behind the scenes or front of house


Cornwall Air Ambulance

  • Charity Shop Assistants in their shops across Cornwall
  • Delivery Buddies - Camborne and St Austell


Cornwall Hospice Care

  • Charity Shop Assistants and Furniture Shop Assistants across Cornwall
  • Chic and cheerful: Retro shop assistant – Penryn
  • eBay Expert - St Austell
  • Driver's Assistants


Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary - Looe

  • Cafe & Gift Shop Assistant, raising funds for monkeys rescued from the pet trade


BHF Retail Shops need volunteers!

  • British Heart Foundation have nine different types of opportunity in their retail shops. Volunteers play an important role by raising vital funds for valuable research. Relevant retail training is available


The Poly Guild Shop (Local Artists and Makers)

  • Supporting the Guild Manager to establish this shop as a friendly, high quality showcase for local artists and makers.


So if that's got you interested, where to start?

Log on to www.do-it.org and type in your postcode. Select it from the drop down menu and it will call up all the opportunities in your area. Browse these or further refine your search to focus on retail.

But here are some other ways you can look for opportunities.....

1. You can simply take a walk down the high street in your nearest town centre. Most charity shops welcome enquiries from prospective volunteers.

2. If there is a charity or cause close to your heart, google them to find contact details and see if they have any shops nearby. Even if they haven't, there may be other ways to help them such as running an online e-bay page etc

3. Check out the volunteering pages and articles in the local press. There are often stories about new shops opening or ads for volunteers. Also, ask around. Once people find out you are interested in volunteering, they'll come looking for you!