I am sure that every What’s On reader has heard of Oxfam and knows at least something about their work. Equally everyone knows that Oxfam has charity shops throughout the country one of the first charities to establish such shops.
Oxfam has a number of shops in south Wales some of which are specialist shops such as books and music whilst others such as the Penarth shop are ‘generic’ in that they sell a whole range of goods such as second hand clothes, bric a brac, music, books, children’s toys – in fact anything other than electrical items and fairtrade goods. Each shop usually has a paid manager and everyone else is a volunteer. The Penarth shop has to be staffed by volunteers to open a minimum of 48 hours a week plus all those people behind the scenes sorting out donations and then valuing and pricing them.
I have always had a commitment and concern for developing countries since Jude, my wife, began promoting fair trade goods in 1977 although it has to be said I have never been given any responsibility beyond carrying boxes! When I retired I wanted to use some of my time volunteering for Oxfam and as I have an interest in music and non classical vinyl in particular I have been cleaning, valuing and pricing vinyl for the last 8-9 years firstly in the town shop and more recently in Penarth.
It’s perhaps worth putting to bed a few of the myths about volunteering certainly in the Oxfam shops and that is that volunteers do not get first pick on what comes in or a discount of any kind. Neither does the shop sell all the ‘best stuff’ on line. What volunteers do get is the satisfaction of contributing to the work of Oxfam, meeting interesting people – both customers and fellow volunteers and in my case the privilege of going through dusty old vinyl!
Here are three suggestions for you to consider. Firstly if you are beginning the New Year wanting to do something different with your time then think about volunteering for Oxfam in Penarth. You do not need to have any experience as training can be provided but equally you may have a particular expertise that you can offer. You can give the new manager Caroline a ring, without any commitment, to discuss more about what is involved.
Secondly you may feel that your time is fully committed so may I suggest you consider helping by donating unwanted items to the shop. Some of you will have noticed that there has been a massive resurgence in vinyl amongst young people over the last year or so and this has fed through to a large demand for second hand vinyl. We are in urgent need of vinyl donations of any genre so please think about rescuing that vinyl you may have tucked away in your loft and bringing it along to Penarth! Large donations can be picked up. Of course donations of all kind are equally welcome. We pride ourselves on obtaining the best possible price for any donations received.
Finally if you are unable to do any of the above then please pay the shop a visit when you are next in Penarth you will be surprised what we have in stock. If you are one of those people who have revived their interest in vinyl then you may just find that LP you gave away many years ago and now want to listen to again!!
For more information contact Caroline Mumford, Manager, Oxfam Shop, 8/8a Windsor Street, Penarth CF64 1JH. Tel: 02920 706358