Recently, Oxfam Shop staff and volunteers from across Ireland were honoured at the Irish Charity Shop Association Awards. Now in its fourth year, the ICSA Awards show case how charity shops and the people who work and volunteer in them contribute to community life in Ireland.
* Volunteer of the Year Runner Up – Jacinta Maxwell, Oxfam Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
* Volunteer of the Year Runner Up – Ali Mubashair, Oxfam French Church St, Cork
* Charity Shop Team of the Year Runner Up – Oxfam Books, Parliament Street, Dublin
* Shop Manager of the Year Runner Up – Eli Garcia Badia, Oxfam Dundrum
* Shop Manager of the Year – Bridget Walsh, Oxfam Navan
In her nomination for Jacinta as Volunteer of the Year, Oxfam Dun Laoghaire Shop Manager Loraine Domican wrote: “Jacinta has volunteered with Oxfam Dun Laoghaire for over 6 years and she brightens up the shop every time she arrives for her shift. She is such a gentle, kind and caring woman with such a positive outlook on life and it is an absolute pleasure to have Jacinta in the shop each week spreading her good vibes! For years Jacinta and her lovely husband, Peter, have been huge supporters of Oxfam’s work and never want any fuss made. But we truly cannot thank her enough for her kindness and generosity. All of the Oxfam Dun Laoghaire team think so highly of her as in our eyes she is our real-life angel!”
In her nomination for Ali as Volunteer of the Year, Oxfam French Church St Shop Manager Eleanor Preston wrote: “Ali has grown accustomed to the working of the store and has built a strong bond with all co-workers as well as customers. He has a kind word for all he meets and is a natural with customers. Ali has pushed past the boundaries of the unknown and has made lifelong friends here at Oxfam. He is a source of happiness within the store, never failing to make someone laugh or smile. We could not imagine Oxfam without him – a gentle, kind man that volunteers to help others without any recognition – but we felt that it was time to recognise the contribution Ali makes.”
Shop Team of the Year was a new category at this year’s Awards in recognition of teams who have shown exceptional commitment to each other to achieve great results for their shop, as a shop can only be successful if there is a great team behind it who are supportive of each other and of their local community.
In her nomination for Oxfam Books Parliament Street as Shop Team of the Year, Manager Christine Kostick wrote a touching tribute to the shop and the team: “It’s our birthday this year. Oxfam Books Parliament St is 20 years old. 20 years of sorting and pricing; wheeling and dealing; opening and closing; and ‘no we don’t do discounts’; and ‘yes we do take donations’; of recessions and tigers; of laughter and shoulders to cry on; of a place to go when the world seems a little too much. I asked some of the volunteers why they volunteer at Oxfam Books. Here are a few of them in their own words – ‘to be able to raise funds to alleviate poverty in less fortunate parts of the world.’ ‘Friendships with my manager and fellow volunteers’- ‘assisting customers – meeting people’- ‘I have regained pride in myself and others.’ I feel the Oxfam Books team deserve this award to give recognition to their generosity of spirit, time, goodwill (and biscuits).”
In her nomination for Eli, Oxfam Dundrum, as Shop Manager of the Year, Oxfam’s District Retail Manager Stephanie Coady wrote: “Eli’s passion is still very much alive for her job after 12 years and she carries it out with determination while at all times remaining calm, polite and courteous to customers and volunteers alike. Eli has an innate commercial ability and a knowledge of retail that goes beyond that of most and that is due to her genuine interest and love for her job. For me, this is what creates the friendly, positive atmosphere in store at all times. “I’m sure it is because of this positive, open and inclusive culture that there is also great craic had by all in Dundrum! I would love Eli to be recognised for her leadership and commitment to Oxfam. She is a friendly face to customers and volunteers alike and I feel this year would be a wonderful year for her to be acknowledged for all her hard work and the unique atmosphere she has created within her store.”
Bridget Walsh of Oxfam Navan won Manager of the Year with a massive 22 nominations from her shop volunteers, CE/TUS workers and Oxfam’s District Retail Manager, Mark Sweeney, who wrote: “Bridget is one of the best examples of what a charity shop manager is, she works for the charity and for her volunteers. In the two years I have worked with Bridget I have learned that Bridget is not just a shop manager to her volunteers, she is family, she is a friend, she is a support. The volunteers in our Navan shop are not just there because it is Oxfam, they are there because of Bridget. “She has trained people to carry out every duty, she is involved with all the local groups to keep new people coming into the team, ages range from 18 to 88, and they all respect the work Bridget does. “She is a one of a kind manager who has shaped the lives of many volunteers, most of whom will return long after they have volunteered to pop in and say hello and thank you to Oxfam’s busy bee.”
Oxfam shops play a significant part in raising vital funds for Oxfam’s work around the world and they are run by wonderful dedicated crews of volunteers and staff. The shops are hives of activity with lots of chats and opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills and of course, have plenty of fun along the way.
There are almost 1,200 shop volunteers at the heart of Oxfam’s community who are a part of a powerful movement of people united by one goal – to beat poverty for good. With over 45 shops, Oxfam need people from all walks of life to volunteer for all kinds of roles. People can give as little or as much time as they like. Just pop into your local Oxfam shop and have a chat with the shop manager. So why wait? Join the global movement to beat poverty for good.