Welcome to our new blog. We are going to give you an insight into what happens behind the scenes at a charity shop. It isn't all just putting clothes on racks!
I am Gill Perkins, the CEO of Wandsworth Oasis – a charity which helps people affected byHIV. Last year the charity donated over £130,000 to various projects – mainly in London - to support vulnerable people living with the virus as well as to prevention and awareness raising projects. Our two primary objectives of raising money to support people living with HIV in the borough and assisting the HIV prevention agenda, are vitally important, but so too is our commitment to minimising our environmental impact. We pride ourselves on sending as little as possible to landfill. I will tell you more about that in my next blog.
But you won't just be hearing from me – we have a team of people who work for us, and they will be telling you fascinating things that go on. Some of them very funny, which we don't always get to share with people. Like the time we got a ‘Human Touch’ donated and our volunteers sold it as an exercise machine…you work that out for yourselves!!! And then there was the pop up Kama Sutra…
Wandsworth Oasis is a chain of seven charity shops in the borough of Wandsworth. Charity shops are the original recyclers. All charity shops play a major role in recycling as individuals donate goods to charity shops rather than throwing them away. At Wandsworth Oasis we go the extra mile to recycle, reuse and upcycle everything we possibly can.
We give a new life to an extensive range of items from furniture to electricals, music, film media, books, household bric-a-brac, clothing, accessories, and all sorts of other things, and sell it on to raise money for charitable purposes whilst also helping people on lower income to purchase good quality items at lower prices.
In this blog you will also meet some of our customers – the people who come to our shops to buy anything and everything (the Chazzas), the van drivers who collect stuff to sell – we are one of the few charities which actually sends a van to pick up items - and many other people involved in our slightly mad world!
We will also be letting you have some insights into the lives of people who have HIV, and the projects we fund that support them in different ways through your donations. HIV/AIDS is not the killer it used to be, but there has been a huge rise in the prevalence of HIV in London – 25% do not know they have HIV in the UK – so we’ll also be asking sector experts to talk us through some of the challenges.
Do visit this blog regularly to find out the behind-the-scenes secrets of charity shopping.