Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Volunteering at our charity shops

We urgently need more volunteers at our shop at 61 Burleigh street. This is a big shop, now taking over £300 every day, but high turnover means that we need lots of helpers to keep donations moving out onto the shop floor.

Basically the process goes like this:
  • Unsorted goods come in, either brought to the shop by individual donors, or collected via house-clearance runs or "trawling" (which is where we drop off collection bags in a street and return next week to pick them up, hopefully containing lots of things we can sell).
  • We empty the bags into a large sorting bin, separating any obviously unsaleable items. Unsaleable textiles, shoes and metal items are bagged up for sale to recycling merchants. 
  • The remaining items are checked again (e.g. for missing buttons, rips, stains). 
  •  Any out-of season clothes (e.g. heavy winter coats in summer) are put into storage for their correct season.
  • In-season clothes are hung on coathangers on a movable clothes rail, and items like crockery, bags, hats, shoes etc. are sorted into storage boxes.
  • We use a steamer (basically similar to a large kettle with a flexible plastic spout ending in a bar like a vacuum cleaner attachment) to iron out creases and generally freshen up the clothes so that they look attractive.
  • Each item of clothing is checked for size labels and the correct "size cube" is attached to its hanger. A price tag is completed and attached using a "pricing gun". Items like crockery and bric-à-brac are priced using sticky lables.
  • As items on the shop floor are sold, the sales area is continually "topped up" from the clothes rail and the storage boxes in the back room. It's essential to keep up the flow so that the shop never looks bare and customers will keep on being attracted to come back.
At present we don't have enough volunteers to ensure that there is always at least one person to work in the back room as well as the one sitting at the till in the shop. Most of the time it would be useful to have at least two backroom helpers, so that one can be preparing goods and the other putting them out, as well as giving the person on the till cover for breaks.

If you might be interested in helping, please drop in at 61 Burleigh Street any day Monday-Saturday between 11 am and 5 pm.

Our shops are our only good source of regular income, and by supporting them you would be giving a real boost to our ability to provide local animal welfare services. It's also fun and a wonderful way to meet like-minded people

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