Helping heart illness search with just few tasks

The experience of two italian students working for the British Heart Foundation in Bournemouth

For the project of transnational work placement, “EUR.ECO – Placement in Europe: “Entrepreneur oggi, Manager Domani”, two students from a school based in Italy, Fabiana Di Silvio and Alessio Puczi, had the opportunity to fly with others students from their school to Bournemouth, UK, for three weeks. They have been assigned to the same charity company dislocated in two different shops: the British Heart Foundation and The British Heart Foundation Electrical.

This British Heart Foundation was born in 1961 thanks to a group of medical professionals who wanted to find extra research to prevent heart and circulatory diseases. The company has a specific aim: gain money to beat heartbreaker forever. That’s why the 25% of the profit goes to charity: this made possible the raise of £ 133m in 2015, thanks to the 730 BHF shops across the UK.
An important thing is that every shop has a paid staff which consists in a manager, an assistant manager and a shop assistant. But who really makes the shop works is the volunteering helped by the donations that people make.

For what concerns the British Heart Foundation, the shop is located in Boscombe, a nice Bournemouth area populated by lots of shops. For its majority, the shop offers clothes for women, men, children and everything else that regards clothing, such as shoes and accessories. Also, things to decorate the house and cards. Behind the simple things you see in the shop, there’s a lot of work that volunteers do. The two managers are, in fact, helped by lots of people who like

spending some hours of their days there and give help for the cause.

People who want to get work experience, foreign people who need help with the language and people who want to help for the cause during their free time.
The organization is everything and everyone play a fundamental part in the shop: there’s who put the size on the clothes, who irons them, who organizes books and DVDs, who checks the orders, who does the customer service and so many other things that people don’t know. The students, in particularly Fabiana, had to do each of these things for three weeks, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, 5 days a week; this made her understand how things really work when you have a shop like this.

About the British Heart Foundation Electrical, the shop is located in Wimborne, a Bournemouth area full of charities shops and restaurants. The volunteers’ role is to help in the re-organization of the shop downstairs while the upstairs is dedicated to the creations of furnitures and the testing of the electrical products.
The shop offers donated furnitures which can be electrical goods or items and the things that aren’t physically sold in there will be sold on eBay.
Alessio, during his staying at the Company, helped to the building of furnitures and in the maintenance of the shop that gave him the opportunity to understand the world of work and what he wants to do in his life.

Moreover, the students interviewed their managers to find out more about them:

British Heart Foundation’s Manager, Michelle Weedon, 52 years old, talks about her job in an interview with Fabiana. She’s a manger and she’s been working for the shop for 2 years and a half already. She decided to start a work like this because she wanted to experience something different, something that’s  positive to raise funds for research. Her aspiration is to make the ship and the increase growing as much as she can to help the cause, making a good customer experience and making her work placement a positive one for everyone. About charity, Michelle said that’s important for many different reasons: it helps the less fortunate, it’s a funding essential research and it’s positive for the environment because it’s recycling. Michelle talks about Volunteers as a fundamental part of her job: they’re an essential part of it and without them more paid staff would be needed that means less money for the charity.

Alessio made a video interview of her manager, Tracy Williams. You can find it here:

The students are really pleased to have had the opportunity to live this experience and they highly recommend to become a volunteer.
You can also find out more informations about the British Heart Foundation on their website: bhf.org.uk

by Fabiana di Silvio & Alessio Puczi

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