Our team volunteers at St Luke’s Hospice

Our team volunteer at St Luke’s Hospice

In celebration of Volunteers’ Week, our team spent a day volunteering at the St Luke’s hospice donation centre in Sheffield. St Luke’s provides free medical care and support to terminally ill patients and their families, touching 6,000 lives annually. Megan Strutt, our Junior Bid Writer, shares her experience of the day:

“Ask anyone in Sheffield, and they’re likely to know someone who has received support from St Luke’s. The hospice is arguably one of the most well-respected charitable organisations in the city, and it’s clear to see why. With compassion and the dignity of their patients at the core of all they do, St Luke’s look after people aged 18 and above across Sheffield who have terminal illnesses, providing expert medical care and support in the hospice and the homes of patients. St Luke’s also provides access to non-clinical aspects like therapy, wellbeing and creative groups, organised activities, and spiritual support. They also support the families of those with terminal illnesses, meaning that while they helped around 1,800 patients last year, their work actually touches the lives of around 6,000 people every year.

And they deliver all of their valuable services free of charge for all.

To fund their services, St Luke’s need around £12m per year, £9m of which they have to raise through charitable donations. Their charity shops, spread across the city and offering carefully chosen pre-loved items, provide a major source of income, and the charity relies on generous donations to keep stock in their shops.

Luckily, the citizens of Sheffield are extremely generous, as we discovered when we spent a day volunteering at the St Luke’s donation centre. We were welcomed to the warehouse by the energetic and friendly Hannah, who explained with enthusiasm the work that the donation centre team carries out and gave us more insight into the valuable services that their work helps to fund. Hannah’s enthusiasm was, it turned out, indicative of the spirit driving the whole team, and they certainly need that motivation to sort through the thousands of bags of donations that pass through the centre each week. Throughout the day, the warehouse was a hive of activity, with vans arriving to drop off donations to be sorted before being re-filled with stock ready to go to charity shops across the city.

We spent most of our day having great fun sorting through (and occasionally trying on…) donations of clothing and bric-a-brac, checking each item for quality and deciding whether it should be sent out to a charity shop. Sustainability is important to St Luke’s, and they have partnered with a ‘rag merchant’, who collects any clothing that is stained, holey, or too well-worn to be sold on, preventing it from going straight to landfill. The rag merchant pays the charity for each kilogram of clothing they collect, meaning that people’s generous donations still help to fund St Luke’s work, even if they don’t end up being sold in a shop.

Having been initially checked and sorted by us, the donations then made their way to the experienced quality control team, who scrutinise each item to find any imperfections we might have missed. They sort the clothing based not only on season (summer/winter) and intended wearer (men’s/women’s/children), but also based on which store they think it would sell best in. In addition to their general charity shops, St Luke’s have specialist vintage, boutique and student-oriented stores, and the QC team uses their fashion and brand knowledge to decide where the clothing should end up. Finally, the clothes are bagged up, tagged, and stored ready to be sent out to the charity shops. Then the next cage of donations is wheeled over, and the cycle continues!

We managed to sort through eight large cages of donations, which the team at St Luke’s estimate will be worth £3,744 for the charity. Roll on next time when we hope to smash this figure and sort even more…!

We spoke with Sarah Eastwood, our Proposal Manager, about her experience of the day: ‘Volunteering at St Luke’s donation centre was great! We spent the day sorting the stylish from the “seriously?!” and left with a sense of accomplishment and a ton of funny memories. I’m excited to return to St. Luke’s and contribute to HQC’s mission of making a meaningful impact… and perhaps discover more fashion faux-pas along the way!’

Proposal Manager Georgia Armitage said: ‘Working with St. Luke’s was an incredible experience, seeing first-hand the life cycle of donations. Each donation has the potential to spark joy as it moves through the donation conveyor belt. It was really rewarding knowing that our efforts to select only the best pieces to ensure every item got a new life were also helping patients and supporting their families.’

To learn more about St Luke’s Hospice, visit their website here.

Hickton Quality Control

Amber Court
51 Church Street
South Yorkshire
S74 8HT



Terms & Conditions
Privacy Policy
Cookie Policy