December 16, 2013 10:07 ET

Top of the Shops: HomeServe Volunteers Occupy Charity Shops in Aid of Marie Curie

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Dec. 16, 2013) - Are you being served? An army of volunteers in red tabards were seen invading the high street this month, as 65 volunteers from HomeServe's regional offices descended on Marie Curie shops to take part in the largest Charity Shop Challenge in the Midlands this year!

The entrepreneurial event, in aid of the company's national charity partner; Marie Curie Cancer Care saw participants donning shop assistant shoes for a day, to help raise the takings and the profiles of ten Marie Curie charity shops in the Midlands and a further two in the Preston region. Ingenuity and teamwork was evident at every approach, with volunteers toiling behind tills, devising in-shop promotions, dressing display windows and taking to the streets in an attempt to drive sales.

A lively competitive element helped fuel activities, with teams of 4-6 volunteers competing against their colleagues to secure the greatest increase in sales. The winners, The Red Hot Techie Peppers, (from HomeServe's IT department) were awarded the King of Shops Trophy, by Chief Information Officer Lesley Ashman, having increased the Hanley, Stoke on Trent shop by a phenomenal 334per cent per cent!

In total, the Charity Shop Challenge raised over £11,500, on average increasing sales by 165per cent on the previous week. Plus, 24 new volunteers were recruited and 389 bags of clothing, toys and bric-a-brac was collected (£7,780 worth of merchandise) to sell in the shops and help boost sales over the coming weeks.

Activities were held over a fortnight to allow ambitious fundraisers across all of HomeServe's sites to take part in the challenge. Participants were encouraged to start planning at an early stage, promoting their in-shop activities on social media and through posters and flyers well in advance of the day.

HomeServe Membership UK CEO Jonathan King said: "Whether it was helping to generate extra stock, raising the profiles of Marie Curie shops locally, attracting more volunteers or increasing the shop's takings, the teams from HomeServe have once again proven they are up to any task. Our HomeServe volunteers continue to inspire me with their enthusiasm and ingenuity."

Shops Area Manager, Joanne Hanks said: "Volunteers play a vital role in the successful running of Marie Curie's Shops. The enthusiasm, creativity and passion the HomeServe teams brought to this Challenge has been really inspiring. We hope more people from our local communities will come along and visit our shops to pick up a great buy, donate goods or even get involved in volunteering."

Marie Curie has been HomeServe's national charity partner since 2010. Having originally pledged to donate £1million over the course of three years, HomeServe smashed the target last September and have now donated more than £1.35 million. That includes £540,000 in cash donations - enough to fund the equivalent of 28 Marie Curie nurses for a year - and more than £840,000 via its free Patient Policy, which gives Marie Curie patients and their family's peace of mind with free help for home emergencies.

The company has extended its partnership with the charity until March 2014.

The Charity Shop Challenge took place in the following shops: Midlands - Acocks Green, Burton on Trent, Coalville, Erdington, Hanley, Harborne, Kidderminster, Sheldon, Shirley, Stourbridge and Preston region - Alderley Edge and Kirkham.

About HomeServe

With over 2,700 directly employed and sub-contracted engineers, Homeserve is a national emergency home repair service backed by a 24 hour claims handling and repair network.

HomeServe's tradesmen service provides households with access to vetted tradesmen who are qualified to carry out hundreds of different jobs around the home.

Homeserve also offers insurance cover for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating.

About Marie Curie Cancer Care

Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of the UK's largest charities. Employing more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, it provided care to more than 35,000 terminally ill patients in the community and in its nine hospices last year and is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.


Around 70 per cent of the charity's income comes from the generous support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and businesses, with the balance of our funds coming from the NHS.

Marie Curie Cancer Care Shops

There are over 170 Marie Curie Cancer Care Shops across the UK, employing 2700 volunteers and 475 paid staff. Over 95 per cent of funds raised from the Charity's Shops come from the sales of donated goods and donations of clothing, books, linen, china and toys are always needed

Marie Curie Nurses

The charity is best known for its network of Marie Curie Nurses working in the community to provide end of life care, totally free for patients in their own homes.

The right to die in place of choice

Research shows around 63 per cent of people would like to die at home if they had a terminal illness, with a sizeable minority opting for hospice care. However, more than 50 per cent of cancer deaths still occur in hospital, the place people say they would least like to be. Since 2004 Marie Curie Cancer Care has been campaigning for more patients to be able to make the choice to be cared for and die in their place of choice.

Charity Partnership

HomeServe's support was recently recognised by being finalised in the British Charity Awards and the Institute of Fundraising Awards.

The Business Charity Awards short-listed the partnership for an award in the category of 'Employee Engagement', where the partnership was Highly Commended. The Institute of Fundraising went one further to nominate the partnership for 'Best Business Charity Partnership' (larger charities with over £1 million income).

The Business Charity Awards celebrates the outstanding contribution made by businesses in the UK to good causes. They are run by Third Sector Magazine, with the support of headline sponsor CAF, the Charities Aid Foundation. The Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising.

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