Upon arrival I am greeted warmly, and everybody is smiling and enjoying their work. Myself or a staff member would make a round of teas and coffees and I would immediately man the phone to take the pressure off the managers as they would be busy mucking in with customer service and item processing. As well as keeping the handset on my person at all times, I would run a check through the 'Gift Aider' filing system to ensure all the hard copy files were in their place, and if not I would file them correctly. Working alphabetically, I would take out any files not marked as contacted and cold call or email them to thank them for donations, inform them of our free van donation collection service, and book collection slots to be filed in the correct place for the van driver. As well as this, I would process 'Gift Aid' sales sheets and new 'Gift Aider' details into the shop computer system called 'Chameleon'. When needed, I help with bringing donations of goods into the shop and greet the people bringing the donations. At times I am moved to the stock room to help out with sorting and labelling if workloads are pressing. In this job I have learned to multi task and prioritise workloads effectively. Everybody there comments positively on my excellent telephone manner and people skills, so much so that I was entrusted immediately to be first point of telephone contact and given the phone to carry on my person at all times. I have also, in a sense become the unofficial IT support
ProsExcellent and well gelled staff and management team, free tea and coffee, fair and approachable management, allowed to be yourself, travel to and from job paid.
I worked for the BHF for 7 years.
The HR structure is completely lacking and managers are not given the tools and support to work with a very diverse mix of volunteers.
Very target driven- there is so much focus on hard selling and shop layout, ASP and using a style guide. Shops are run like normal retailers which does not work when you can’t predict what your stock will be. Prices are set far too high and though managers can be flexible with pricing it all comes back to the ASP.
There is always too much stock coming in and so much has to go to the tip just to keep the warehouses safe enough. Sometimes in smaller stores stock will be stacked to the ceiling and block the fire exits. There are so many Heath and safety violations it’s a joke. And the only ones who are punished when things go wrong is the manager.
Stores with larger warehouses are often forced to take transfer stock from other stores. Area managers often swoop in, force a bunch of stock moves on the shop floor (this is heavy, exhausting work) and then leave you in the lurch. We were made to report our sales figures via text message every two hours and a final figure at the end of the day.
Also managers and assistant managers are expected to go out and recruit volunteers but it can be incredibly difficult to find time to leave the store when understaffed. There were days when it was just 1 volunteer.
I went months without an assistant manager and the company provided little to no support. W
ProsMet some cool people along the way, saw some neat stuff
ConsUncaring head office, incompetent overpaid middle management, too corporate
I manage a standard store, the job itself is quite nice the stuff you get in is really interesting and getting all the stock out and having the shop looking nice is great. There is a lot of paperwork but again it's not too bad once you get the hang of it. I also have a lady who comes in and does courses for different charities and which I just completed my management course in.
The cons are that I spend alot of time on my own and yet they still expect you to make the same money, I have been taken advantage of as I drive, they get me to cover every store in my area and then tell me off when my store isn't meeting its targets!
My assistant manager has no sense of style, my area manager has told me to keep notes on her so we can review her out of the business which is quite unfair on me and isn't pleasant, she is a bully though, to say the least, and undermines me every chance she gets, no one has done anything about this though and when she apparently said something not nice about me to my area manager about me having a day in lei she rolled her eyes and my area manager said "that's just how she is"!!
Pay is rubbish for the amount of stress and running around I do.
The cherry on top is that when I go to meeting's I'm left out and receive no support. I'm meant to be going training, but the few times I've been there the manager had me cover her and didn't give me any training, and then again for when she was interviewing and then when she did actually spend time
Prosdiscount, training from outside the company
ConsStressful, low pay, no support, workload, crazy staffing hours
Bad management, and constantly blamed for nothing.
Worked in the furniture branch of BHF, No Covid-19 checks done on arriving at the shop, Wasn’t shown where to meet had there been a fire evacuation, No formal training, Not provided with an uniform, Not even steel toe capped shoes/boots as the handbook suggested.
I was also blamed for most of the breakages or furniture that got damaged, A leather sofa arrived in the shop and had a hole in it, I got the blame for putting that hole in it.
A fire inspector came to the shop twice in a week, the store room where the electric meters were, were blocked with metal sofa frames and other materials which would feed a fire and no fire notices were on the walls to let people know what to do in an emergency, there was even a wardrobe put in front of a fire alarm button, I was just waiting to be bollocked about that.
It was an fire waiting to happen.
I was expected to carry furniture and pre packed boxes of furniture up and down stairs which clearly said on the box for 2 people to carry (I have pictures to show this).
The manageress was Eastern European, she would be constantly on her phone to the drivers and when they did arrive with the delivery she would speak to them in her language and be flirting with them too and even though they could speak English, god knows what she was telling them about me and the other staff, she was rude, arrogant, and to be shouted at in front of other staff and customers was not very professional of her.
And other staff got the blame too, for dockets the
ConsLong Hours, no breaks, except 1 hour lunch break.
I arrive at around 10 am, make a round of teas and coffees and have a brief chat with everyone. Everyone is pleased to see me and I always get a warm feeling which sets my day there in good stead. I keep a shop phone handset on my person at all times so I'm very often the first voice people hear when they ring the shop. Keeping this in mind, I make sure that I always sound upbeat and professional. I then run a check over the hard copy filing system to make sure every file is in the correct place. While I'm doing this I am also canvassing by telephone and email to thank Gift Aiders for their donations and notifying them of our free to use van collection service. Some days I have a member of staff with me that I train up on my admin duties so they can perform my role in my absence. As well as this, I process the Gift Aid sales sheets and enter details of new Gift Aiders onto the computer.
In this role I have learned that I'm an excellent multitasker and creative thinker, and being among such an excellent team of volunteers and management pays dividends to my performance in my role, as there's always someone available to help out when needed. My co workers and management are possibly some of the loveliest people I have ever worked with. The management team are always in the thick of it and mucking in where they are needed most without a word of complaint. This goes for everyone else who works there too, as all the volunteers are working extremely hard all of the time.
ProsFree tea and coffee, transport fares paid for, friendly and hard working staff team, excellent management team, great atmosphere - always someone laughing, can be myself with no judgement from others.
ConsWish I could do more, would love to do it as a paid job.
Whilst working as a volunteer at the British Heart Foundation i found it an enjoyable experince as i got a long with the manager/staff well, as we all corresponded well together, i would usually be on the shop floor on the tills, also giving customers advise on various products about prices etc, also dealt with a lot of donation which would need to be recorded in a book so that they knew how much was collected, also had to make a target of each day to earn so much to meet targets which would vary from time to time which was a exciting challenge.
I learned a lot of skills whilst working here from learning about how they would have to change their stock every so often to fit in with the seasons which i had to do on occasions, learning how to use the till as there wasnt no bar code to scan so had to type in numbers, also learnt to do debit/credit card transactions, returns on products etc.
On the shop floor and up stairs was all managed accurately, as when ever stock was on the floor for a certain amount of time they would need to be changed, also when stock was low had to bring some down to put on shop floor, all items was faced to the front as it was all well organised, the manager was superb was always there to give you advice and when needed help too, was lovely to work alongside, also all co workers had no problems with them we all worked well in a team to make sure everything was going right, showed good communication towards each other and when one was on lunch everythi
A good place to work to build a CV suited to retail and customer service jobs. What it lacks in monetary payment, it makes up for in experience. As well as offering training in all responsibilities a retail assistant needs for a job in almost any shop, the company offers NVQ programmes to give volunteers qualifications relevant to the profession as well as a record of the experience gained by the volunteer. To add to this, the unpredictable nature of working in a charity shop brings with it challenges that grow more general attributes, like adaptability, ensuring that the volunteer will go on to excel in any job they progress onto.
The environment there is one of hard work, but is friendlier than the average workplace, and is very accommodating to the strengths and weaknesses of volunteer workers. Co-workers are generally polite and friendly, and management is strict, but fair, and will even offer help with employability. It is also very easy to get to know colleagues, as the shops are small and run in a less formal manner than the average retail environment, though a degree of professionalism is required at all times while working, especially on the shop floor.
Professionalism and customer service in the store are of the highest standards, and one of the things the company prides itself on
There is a great deal of variety in the tasks offered by the company, too, from menial, repetitive tasks to challenging and interesting ones, and the occasional one-off task that may re
I would go into work at lunchtime and work till 15:00-16:00 then I would leave. During the 3-4 hours I work there I would replenish stock and sort out the new donations that get delivered at the store every day. The majority of it was clothing so I'd have to steam it all and tag every garment ready to be sold. Some days I would have to walk into the town center with my co-worker and hand out leaflets to persuade the public to donate things they don't want anymore. We also would have the money donation pots and walk around with them to collect as much money donations as possible.
While working at the British Heart Foundation I learned a lot more about the charity and what it does. I also learned what it was like to work in a shop in busy conditions.
In the British Heart Foundation there was two people who were apart of the management team. I was clearly told to go to either one of them if there was any problems. One person was controlling the health and safety there is in working in a store and the other was management of the shop floor. This person controlled what went out to the store, if it was safe and suitable.
I had many co-workers that were very interested in the charity. Most of them had been working there for many years so I gained knowledge of what generally happens from them.
The hardest part of the job was to collect stock, there would be numerous amount of bags left outside the store and the driver would drop off furniture. Before me and my co-worker would lea
Pleasant work colleagues and a sense of fulfilling a public service
Typically, I would arrive at 9:30, check whether I had been given any written instructions, and either commence to 'rotate' the books that had been on sale for too long, or commence selecting and preparing for sale donated books. his entailed cleaning, categorising and pricing donated books. Intervening tasks that arose during the day were offloading a full range of donate from delivery vans, and assigning 'culled' books for forwarding to other BHF shops, according to their requirements. I filed monthly reports to the BHF HR Office (Shops).
The day ended with cleaning-up tasks.
My fellow volunteers manifested a friendly ethic of teamwork and cooperation. Whilst I gained satisfaction from meeting weekly sales targets, I also derived satisfaction from identifying and meeting the needs of individual clients. At a time when tuition costs are becoming prohibitively expensive for higher education, I felt this to be an especially useful public service.
Regrettably, the manager had difficulty giving clear instructions (usually referring to the subject as "it" or "they"). As I couldn't read her mind, understanding her requirements was apt to get laborious. When the manager was in error, she had a need to compensate herself by proving she could interfere with some other aspect of the books sales.
ProsA good workplace atmosphere, friendly colleagues, sufficient flexibility in my working hours to combine this job with part-time paid work.
ConsHaving worked at the Cowley BHF for four years, I was unable to access waged employment in the field (in part as, having been 'registered disabled' in the past with a calcaneal spur, I cannot spend long periods standing). My expertise is in books only, and not 'high street fashion' so I was excluded from managerial positions at the Oxford shops.
Many will only realise the magnitude of team-effort and energy that goes into the running of a charity shop, once they've had a taster. It is felt throughout the shop, from the managers, even down to the volunteers.
The British Heart Foundation is no different. If you love to be part of a fast-paced environment where you're kept on your feet and have a driven work-ethic, this could be the place for you. A typical day at work could vary widely, so adaptability is crucial.
Even on the shop floor, you could go from a quiet half-hour to suddenly receiving several large donations at once (all of which must be processed correctly - depending on Gift Aid status), have a que of customers at the till, and phone calls from customer seeking donation pick-ups. Remaining calm and organised is also a must, but is often achieved with experience alone.
The culture is typically up-beat and most (if not all) branches have a diverse workforce of volunteers & paid staff. Management in my branch are deeply respected and are as much as part of the team than anybody else, so no 'us and them' atmosphere.
The day always seem to fly and the hardest part of the job is usually fitting everything into one day. At first, for many, it can feel like an overload of information when learning new sectors of the shop. This is typically because the business has one 'right' way for doing pretty much anything and at least a dozen 'wrong' ways for each. This is typically due to company policy on anythin
ProsBeing part of a team. Constant personal development. Free NVQ courses in Retail.
Questions and answers about British Heart Foundation
How did you feel about telling people you worked at British Heart Foundation?
Asked 21 Mar 2017
Proud. It can be a stressful job as paid staff at times, but I like jobs with a sense of purpose.
Answered 25 Jul 2021
I felt good
Answered 24 Oct 2019
How are the working hours at British Heart Foundation?
Asked 18 Mar 2017
Volunteers do all work whilst staff watch TV
Answered 31 Aug 2020
Paid staff will do the hours of his/her contract is. If its over time they will ask you if you can do it or not.
Answered 19 Sept 2019
What should you wear to an interview at British Heart Foundation?
Asked 21 Mar 2017
Answered 24 Oct 2019
A normal 3 piece suit.
Answered 10 Jul 2019
How does someone get hired at British Heart Foundation Furniture? What are the steps along the way?
Asked 5 Apr 2017
They advised on the internet and also in the shop window and also word of mouth
Answered 24 Oct 2019
As it is volunteer work it's as simple as going into a local store and asking if there is volunteer work to be done. And in most circumstances you will be asked to start the following week.
Answered 10 Sept 2019
If you were to leave British Heart Foundation, what would be the reason?
Asked 22 Mar 2017
I had to leave.
I was on my first day and the Manager was so rude, Disrespectful and Down right nasty..
I am so glad I left