Thanks to the success of our Who’s Looking in Your Window campaign, we decided to continue shining the spotlight on charity shops and the great work that charity shop volunteers do. Lots of you have stories about how working in charity shops is so much more than steaming old clothes… How it brings a sense of purpose and a helpers high and how volunteers really are the heart and soul of charity shops!

1.Tracie Spurr from Wakefield Hospice, Horbury:

What’s one myth about charity shops?

Some people are under the illusion we pay very little or nothing in running costs. We are a business, and have to make money not only to run our shops, but to help raise funds for our designated charities. We could not do it without help and support from volunteers, whether it’s an hour per day or a day per week.

Every minute is a great help to a charity.

What is your favourite part of working in a charity shop?

My favourite part of the job is my volunteers and customers, I certainly could not do my job without the support of my team and the encouragement and loyalty of the customers and residents in Horbury, Ossett and surrounding areas, who support our hospice. Volunteers give us their time and support, and we give them loyalty, encouragement when needed, and most of all, friendships and memories.

Is there anything that surprised you about working in a charity shop?

The thing that surprised me about the role, is how hard everyone works together at Wakefield Hospice. Everyone puts their heart and soul into providing the utmost care for patients and their families.

That’s why I love my job so much.💖

2. Anonymous from RSPCA bookshop:

One myth about charity shops: That we get discounted rents (we don’t)

Favourite part of the job: The sense of anticipation as we unpack a new donation. Something that surprised me: The huge skill and dedication of our shop volunteers #NotJustOldClothes @RSPCA_Bookshop

3. Tabby from London:

What’s one myth about working in a charity shop?

The biggest MYTH about charity shops is that you’ll get fleas from unpacking old clothes – (a nice 90s fleece maybe, but fleas, no)

What’s your favourite thing about working in a charity shop?

My favourite part about the job is that our shop, like most, is super independent, which means we get to decide th layout of the shop, how we want to display its contents, as well as what our window display looks like. Getting to organise the whole of a shop floor based on your own personal input is massively creatively rewarding!

Is there anything that surprised you about working in a charity shop?

The thing that surprises me most about charity shops is the amount of people that use them. Even in today’s era of vintage revamps i’m still stunned to see that we don’t get more young people coming in – I hope this changes soon.

4. Charity Shop Lover from North London

What’s your favourite thing about working in a charity shop?

The people I worked with. Seeing how a good manager can transform a shop in need, through putting in the effort to make the shop look nice and have a good eye for stock. Whilst also getting to work with the other volunteers who, from my experience, are always friendly and admiringly dedicated to making sure the shop runs well. And of course, the excitement of trawling through bags and bags of stock and hoping to find a gem for yourself. 

Is there anything that surprised you about working in a charity shop?

What surprised me is how much more aware I became of how many things I could be buying second hand, and not have to buy new. We really don’t need to be buying much new when we have so many great items from clothes to furniture to cosmetics that are often much more interesting and unique than what we find on the high street.

5. Anonymous from Manchester:

What’s one myth about charity shops?

I’m not sure about myths, but before I went to work for my local charity shop, I thought I wasn’t going to have anything in common with any of my colleagues. I worked in the shop for three months as part of my Duke of Edinburgh award and there was such a range of people who worked there, with all different reasons for helping out. 

What’s your favourite thing about working in a charity shop?

My favourite thing about working in the charity shop was getting first dibs on some of the clothes that came in.

Is there anything that surprised you about working in a charity shop?

he amount of friends I made! From co-workers to customers, there was always someone there to put a smile on my face.

6. Crisis regular from Finsbury Park:

What’s one myth about charity shops?

That everything coming in to the charity shop is second hand. So many people think that everything in charity shops is second hand, in reality, there’s tonnes of stock that is still brand new with tags! That everything coming in to the charity shop is second hand. So many people think that everything in charity shops is second hand, in reality, there’s tonnes of stock that is still brand new with tags!

What’s your favourite thing about working in a charity shop?

My favourite thing about my local charity shop is that it is a community hub. With a cafe attached, it’s the perfect place to grab a coffee and relax, as well as find some bargains. 

Is there anything that surprised you about working in a charity shop?

That more people don’t shop in charity shops!

As always, thank you to all our contributors for spreading the charity shop love. Take a look at more of our GoodReads at whatCharity.com

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