Gutted: Mind Charity shop in Bermondsey ‘Closed down’

The Mind Charity shop in Bermondsey, Southwark, appears to have suddenly ‘closed down’. All the staff, volunteers, clothes and nik naks have gone. It is now a ‘shell’.

There is no sign outside the shop apologising to loyal customers, and no notice of any refurbishment. Customers were not warned this would happen, and staff, if they knew, did not let on. Maybe it was news to them too. If it has moved elsewhere, there is no notice. It’s all a bit of a mystery. The Charity Communications team has not provided any response.

The shop has recently had new management, after the previous management had gone. New volunteers have been drafted at the shop over the past few weeks.

There were minor changes within the shop since then and there had been positive ideas for improvement and change. So it all has come a bit of a terrible shock to locals who enjoyed having a chat with the staff and buying some clothes for themselves, gifts, collectables and toys for their children. It is going to be difficult to find a replacement as there are limited places in the town selling inexpensive clothes and quality cards. The Sue Ryder Shop nearby is also closed due to a power problem.

Throughout Mind there has been a financial overhaul, with harsh audits from ‘the top’ and drastic cuts that have seen major changes within the charity.

UPDATE: Good news, it is to re-open on 10th August 2017 https://beaulieusnewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/mind-charity-shop-bermondsey-to-re-open-10th-august/

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London: Street pastors pay a visit to the #Bermondseycarnival

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The Street Pastors are a group of Christian men and women who go out in Southwark at night-time and speak to vulnerable people and try and help and signpost them. They say it is really important to talk and to listen to vulnerable people found alone on the street of London.

At the Bermondsey Carnival in Southwark Park this afternoon, they were out during the day, handing out lollipops to the public.

They commit to volunteering at least once a month, but sometimes they do more than this. They tend to go out late at night and finish about 4am in the morning. Southwark can be dangerous at night but they feel that it is their duty that they must go out and help people.

They help talk to people on London Bridge who want to commit suicide and who feel that life is not worth living and try and give them ‘some meaning’ in life.

The Pastors also go out and help Clubbers who are intoxicated. Sometimes they take them home to ensure they get home safely, rather than letting them get attacked at night. Other times they give women flip flops as some women clubbers cannot walk in their shoes or have lost their shoes in their vulnerable state.

PHOTO: Below – Street Pastor’s flip flops:

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They seem to be a great team, full of character, and some of them have been on the team for over five years.

To find out more about the Street Pastors in London see http://www.streetpastors.org

Volunteer receives 36 pages of Red Tape to work for a Charity

Many of us like to volunteer and put something back. Some charities make it really easy for people to volunteer, but others, who  want to be  office volunteers seem to be lumbered with mountains and mountains of red tape.

I wanted to volunteer for a small charity for  just for a few hours  in an office in something I have a keen interest in, but yesterday, I was swamped with 36 pages of tedious but well meaning corporate Red Tape. I cannot even bear looking at it again.

It was all written in legal jargon and generally in  a fairly unfriendly language as if to say, ‘watch your back or you will out’.  Apparently volunteers must  even have an appraisal to discuss ‘performance’.  There was nothing to welcome the volunteer at all, and to say, ‘we thank you for wanting to help us ‘ no, none of that.  Sexual relationships were discussed on the forms and if the volunteer had a relationship with another staff member, one of them would be ‘asked to leave’.  Then of course, if you were a politically minded person, you would have to ‘speak to your superiors’ if you were lobbying which could affect the charity, as they need to be impartial. Generally fair points, but I felt that I would always be ‘on edge’ at the charity.

At the end of the day, the charity does not own me, but looking at the amount of legalise I received,  like to think that they do.

The irony is that the charity concerned was crying out for volunteers.

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