Blunkett helps to sell volunteering event

FORMER Home Secretary David Blunkett joined staff yesterday at a Barnardo's shop in Yorkshire to help promote a national campaign to encourage volunteering.

Mr Blunkett said he was looking forward to today’s Make A Difference Day as he chatted with volunteers at the Middlewood Road store in Hillsborough in Sheffield.

The annual event is organised by the UK volunteering charity, Community Service Volunteers (CSV) to try to encourage people to get a taster experience of volunteer work.

Last year, more than 67,000 people participated.

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Mr Blunkett helped behind the counter while he was at the Sheffield store yesterday.

He also went into the back office at the premises where donated goods are cleaned and prepared for sale.

Mr Blunkett, who is the Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, admitted that the need for volunteers would be amplified in the wake of the public sector cutbacks which are being imposed by the coalition Government.

He said: “I’m promoting Make A Difference Day which is about people volunteering to give their time and energy and commitment.

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“Barnardo’s is a wonderful example of this. You’ve got people volunteering to donate, people volunteering to help with the cleaning up and people volunteering to sell it.”

Mr Blunkett added: “We’re all going to have to pull together, given the cuts in public expenditure and the difference that’s going to make to services, to actually mobilise communities, mobilise voluntary groups to be able make a difference to people’s lives.

Barnardo’s said that it has more than 6,000 volunteers who work in the charity’s shops, raising funds.

Barnardo’s director of retail and trading, Gerard Cousins, added: “We’re really proud of our army of volunteers.

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“Not only are volunteers the life blood of our retail stores, without them we would not be able to make such a positive difference to the lives of so many children, young people and their families.”

The organisation runs 415 projects in the UK and works directly with more than 100,000 families providing services for children in poverty, young carers or children who have been sexually exploited.