Frankie and the Heartstrings inspire new Sunderland volunteer venture

(l to r) Coun Graeme Miller, project worker Dionne Smith, project co-ordinator Anna Gillingham, volunteer Gary Smith, chairperson Jackie Nixon and chief officer David Curtis outside the Volunteer Centre in Holmeside, Sunderland.
(l to r) Coun Graeme Miller, project worker Dionne Smith, project co-ordinator Anna Gillingham, volunteer Gary Smith, chairperson Jackie Nixon and chief officer David Curtis outside the Volunteer Centre in Holmeside, Sunderland.
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A NEW one-stop shop for volunteers was inspired by Sunderland pop stars Frankie and the Heartstrings.

Would-be volunteers can find out more about giving up their time for a good cause and browse for bargains at Volunteer Centre Sunderland’s new base in Holmeside.

The shop combines selling donated items with dishing out information to anyone interested in volunteering.

Charity chief executive David Curtis said inspiration came from Pop Rec Ltd – the record store and gig venue based in the former Tourist Information Office in Fawcett Street.

Officially opened in June, the once-empty shop now sells coffee and vinyl by day and welcomes music legends like Edwyn Collins after dark.

David rejected claims that Sunderland city centre is awash with charity shops. He said: “We are not just a charity shop. We are here promoting a service, and funding raised in the shop will help us provide that service.

“Without funding, hundreds of organisations would not be getting volunteers.”

The Volunteer Centre, in Toward Road, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and works with about 350 organisations and has more than 450 volunteering opportunities for adults of all ages.

The shop is open Monday to Saturday and is looking for donations and volunteers. For more information, call 567 8902.