Shared Moments: ‘I heard on the Radio….’ written by Maureen Kershaw

Day 116 – I heard on the Radio today that ‘Age UK’ will not be re-opening their Charity Shops which has made me wonder about the future of many other such shops. As I passed the ‘Cancer Research’ shop in town on Friday a large notice in the window appealed for Volunteers for every day of the week. Charity Shops have in the main been run by older and retired staff who could, of course, have been shielding during the Covid Lockdown. In any case they may well have concerns regarding return to the close confines of a shop for several hours. It certainly makes one consider the value of volunteering at the present time. Just prior to Lockdown being in the ‘over 70s’ age group I was prevented from carrying out my front of house role at the City Varieties Music Hall, which upset me greatly. Within days – in fact before the next Show took place – Lockdown happened – so all our Volunteers, irrespective of age, were not required.

My other Volunteering apart from the City Varieties and occasionally at the Leeds Playhouse, is tenant involvement with my Housing Association. That too came to an abrupt halt however we have managed to hold a couple of important meetings via ‘Zoom’ with more planned and this could well be the way in future. It could be a long time before we are able to hold our quarterly meetings for tenants which include a Speaker, Q & A sessions with members of staff, quizzes etc and not forgetting the buffet! These were important social gatherings for, in particular, our older tenants who can feel socially isolated.

All over, there are thousands of volunteers doing excellent work in all manner of organisations, many of whom have been deprived of their time for giving during Lockdown. I do hope that those who keep the Charity Shops ticking over will be able to return? Or will the Charities themselves have faced such economic problems that they may be unable to re-open their shops? Time will tell. I’ve had many an excellent bargain from the shops over the years and I still have a list of things to look out for!

Sadly, frustratingly and worringly so – Theatres are to be amongst the last to re-open their doors. Outdoor performances being allowed now, these are only possible for a minority.  However far away it may be, to throw open the doors once again – and for those venues fortunate to be able to do so,  we volunteers are waiting in the Wings – and await our cue.

And we hope so too Maureen, until next time….