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Volunteering – Good for the Soul

Volunteering – Good for the Soul
Every Sunday, between the many shelves of books and music at the Oxfam Bookshop in Kentish Town, you might be lucky enough to bump into our ever-smiling London Associate, Sammy Bikoulis.
Eager to become more actively involved in his local community, Sammy took up a volunteer role with his local branch of Oxfam Bookshop. Aware of the wonderful work that Oxfam do, together with his interest in literature and music (the bookshop has a wonderful vinyl collection), when the opportunity to work with the organisation arose, he jumped at the chance.
“More than anything, I feel that volunteering at Oxfam is my way of contributing and helping people that have been less fortunate. There are far too many people living in poverty and I feel we need to do as much as we can to help. Volunteering has also brought me closer to my own community and has given me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who support similar causes. Kentish Town is a close community and I couldn’t be happier being part of it.”That was three years ago, and now Sammy cannot envisage a Sunday morning when he doesn’t bid farewell to his partner and puppy, and take the short walk to the shop with coffee in hand.
Volunteering during the Pandemic

We all know the world has been a little ‘different’ of late. Shops and businesses closed their doors, with charity shops and other volunteer organisations hit with vastly reduced volunteer numbers who wished to stay away from public spaces in an effort to reduce risk to themselves and their loved ones.

The volunteers at the Kentish Town branch of Oxfam bookshop pride themselves in their friendly and warm approach to customers, and worried that newly installed Perspex screens at the tills and face shields worn by staff (made and supplied by LEP as part of our extensive 3D printed shield-making initiative) would somewhat ‘sterilise’ the experience. With many regular customers, staff were concerned this new way of working would feel impersonal. Although a challenging change, volunteers soon adapted the new procedures and continue to provide a wonderful customer experience, whilst keeping people safe.
Talking about the changes experienced at his branch of Oxfam Bookshop, Sammy said:
“When shops started to reopen in mid-June, many of my regular co-volunteers made the decision to stay at home. This was completely understandable, but I was eager to get back into the swing of things. Rather than my usual role of being ‘back of house’ sorting through the many donations, due to the volunteer shortfall I now serve and assist customers on the shop floor.  

“My fellow volunteers and I have embraced the changes, and we’re pleased to say our customers have been very considerate and open to the adaptations as well. One good thing to come out of this pandemic has been the wonderful sense of comradery we have experienced within the community.”

About Oxfam
Did you know that in the UK alone approximately 13 million people are living in poverty? That’s a staggering 1 in 5. Shocking statistics, I think you’ll all agree.
As a global movement, Oxfam has an inspiring vision that “in a world rich in resources, poverty isn’t inevitable”. With this vision in mind, the charity has dedicated the last 75 years to helping people around the world – the UK included – create better lives for themselves.  From helping ensure people have sufficient access to food and water, to health and education initiatives, conflict and disaster assistance, and development aid, Oxfam provides a vital lifeline to many.
To find out more about the vast amount of issues Oxfam work on, visit:

There are many ways you can support this incredible organisation:campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, donating and shopping at one of their stores or online.

Buy Conscientiously
In a world where awareness on reducing waste and protecting our environment have become more pressing, buying second hand is a wonderful (and easy) way which we all can help. There are a multitude of shops on the high street – many of them associated with some wonderful charities, including Oxfam – who offer second-hand items, with proceeds going to great causes.
Each and every branch of Oxfam Bookshops offer a vast array of items, including fiction, biographies, academic books, cookery and children’s books, as well as many stores stocking an extensive music collection – there really is something for everyone!
So if you have a specific book in mind, a gift to buy, or just looking for something a little unusual, take a peek in your local Oxfam store… and you never know, you might bump into Sammy!

If you can’t get to your local Oxfam shop, make sure you check out their online store:

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Our life-changing work across a wide range of areas is based on a deep understanding of the root causes of poverty. Find out more about our approach to the issues that matter here.
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Discover Oxfam’s Online Shop for unique nearly new donated women’s, men’s & children’s clothing, books, charity gifts & lots more!