Alan Haynes has worked for All Aboard Shops Ltd for nearly 6 years, and became CEO in 2016. All Aboard Shops Ltd are a chain of charity shops that raise funds for over 60 UK Registered Charities. He talks to the Jewish Weekly about a busy day in his working life.
7:30 – I try to get in early to beat the traffic and use this “quiet” time to look at the previous day’s sales and expenditure figures, as well as check the company account and my emails. No two days are the same working for All Aboard, which is one of the things I love, and because there is so much going on, the hours seem to fly by!
9am – Most of the Head Office staff and volunteers arrive by this time, so I’ll have a quick chat with them and get a sense of the issues of the day. It’s great working with such an amazing and committed team. When the driver and driver assistants from Langdon (Jewish Charity helping young adults with learning disabilities) arrive there is usually some banter at my expense, as I’m a dedicated Southampton Football fan and has usually lost again!
10am – I check through the daily/weekly sales performance for each shop line by line to get a better understanding of what’s working and what is not and send questions and comments to my Retail Operations Manager, Annette, to respond. This year’s retail performance has been strong so far, which is very encouraging for us and all the charities we support. We are certainly bucking the sector retail performance which is in decline.
11am – One of the ways that we are able to boost our income is through Gift Aid. I meet regularly with my Gift Aid Manager to look at our performance in this area. For every £1 raised from a sale of a donated item in our shops, we claim an extra 25p back from the tax man as long as the donor is a UK tax payer. We are really grateful when people sign up for this and it makes such a difference to our income and it doesn’t cost our donors anything to join.
12pm – I’m currently in training for the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run on June 24th, so try and go for a run around noon. This will be my 3rd year running on behalf of All Aboard and I am proud to have raised thousands of pounds for the charity. Running not only gives me a chance to get some fresh air and exercise, but it also helps me to reflect and prioritise the rest of my day and week.
1pm –I try to visit our shops as much as possible, and this afternoon I am at our Paddington branch meeting with a Spanish Hospice Retail Director visiting from Spain on a fact finding mission who wants to see what we do. It’s great to network and share knowledge and learning, and a good chance to catch up with the staff and our many volunteers as well. Volunteers are crucial to the charity, and we really appreciate their dedication and loyalty. We are always grateful for new volunteers, and we are making a big effort to put volunteers at the heart of our charity. After all, that was how we were founded by the amazing Stella Lucas, MBE volunteering her time. We currently have 17 shops in the London area, and one in Manchester, with a new shop opening soon in the Salford area. I would love to see us open another 30 shops nationwide in the future. It would really make a significant difference financially to the many charities that we support, and raise our profile to a wider audience.
3pm – Evelyn manages the team responsible for collections, deliveries and transferring of stock and they are all kept very busy, and I like to make sure it all runs smoothly. Collections of donations from our amazing donors is an important and vital part of the success of the charity, and we really appreciate the many thousands of supporters within the Jewish community that donate their goods to us. Without their support, we would not be able to help so many amazing causes with their work. I’m always happy to help out and have been known to go out to collect donations myself. People are sometimes surprised when I turn up in a suit, but it gives me a chance to say a personal thank you to them.
4pm – I meet up with Clare, our eBay Manager, to discuss sales and listings. We have only been running the eBay shop for the past 12 months or so, but it’s really going from strength to strength. All the items we sell are hand selected for their quality from donations we receive, and we have new, nearly new and vintage clothing for sale. We also invite customers to our newly opened warehouse shop in Watford. Clare also organises regular Pop Up events, and we are currently preparing for our next event at the ‘Classic Car Boot Sale’ in Granary Square, Kings Cross on 28th – 29th April.
5pm – I often meet with other CEO’s and Managers from the many Charities we support to discuss how we can work together to build and develop closer links. What makes All Aboard so unique is that it supports over 60 different charities, both for Jewish and non-Jewish causes. For example, one of the charities we work with helps women against domestic violence and abuse and often they have to leave their homes suddenly with absolutely no possessions. I suggested opening one of our shops so that they could choose some clothing for themselves and their children, which would really help them. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be financial support that makes a difference.
6pm – As well as meetings, I am also dealing with emails and telephone calls throughout the day. It’s busy but I really enjoy working for All Aboard, and over the past two years, we have been rebuilding and laying down strong foundations, and feel that there are exciting times ahead for All Aboard and all the charities it supports.
If you would like to donate items or volunteer to work in a shop or at Head Office, please see our website www.allaboardshops.com for shop locations or call 0208 381 1717. To support and run for All Aboard at this year’s Maccabi GB Community Fun Run on 24th June, please visit http://www.communityfunrun.org/