Children’s charity Barnardo’s has been delighted by the success of a new national fundraising operation based in Rugby which has generated hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Last year it opened an ‘online hub’ in a warehouse on the Swift Valley Industrial Estate, collecting the most valuable and unusual donations received by its stores across the UK.
Items are then sold on eBay to support the charity’s life-changing work with some of the country’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
In just the first year of operation, the team have already sold more than 10,000 items and raised more than £450,000.
They celebrated their first anniversary this week when they gathered to cut a specially decorated cake.
Barnardo’s online operations manager Jonathan Cage said:
“We’ve been amazed and delighted by the success of this new venture, which has exceeded all of our expectations.
“Previously, a high-value donation would only be seen by shoppers in a single store and our local staff may have been unaware of its true worth.
“However, eBay offers a far larger audience and our team has much more time to look into the true value of each gift which has been flagged for our attention.”
“Online sales have included jackets, shoes, hats and handbags which have sold for hundreds of pounds, but our most expensive items have been gold and jewellery – one donated ring was recently sold for more than £900!
“Foreign coins and those no longer in circulation raised more than £20,000 last year, and retro toys from the 1960s-80s are always popular – Action Man sets often sell for more than £200!
“People won’t pay these prices in a charity shop, but they will when shopping online.”
The warehouse employs paid staff who are often supported by volunteers who help with researching, cleaning, repairing and photographing the donations.
More volunteers are welcome to join the team.
“Every hour of support is sincerely appreciated.
“It’s a great opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to make new friends and learn new skills, which can sometimes help with the search for employment too.
“Working together, we’re raising much-needed funds to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children, young people and families.”
For further information on the voluntary roles available, visit: www.barnardos.org.uk/volunteering or email firstname.lastname@example.org