Tag Archives: charity shop

“Meeting new people and helping others – that’s my secret”

Scope volunteer Ethel Davey is due to celebrate her 100th birthday on 30 July. She has been volunteering at the Scope shop in St Albans for over twenty years, and has no intention of stopping yet.

I like to meet people and volunteering with Scope is a great way to do that. I’ve been at the St Albans shop since it opened nearly 21 years ago. I was in town doing my shopping and a lady asked me if I’d like to come and volunteer. I said I’d give it a go and I’ve been coming back ever since.

Everyone in town knows Ethel

I try to keep busy and I like helping people. As well as volunteering, I go to clubs where they have speakers and lunches. I used to help run the Scout jumble sales. I’ve been in St Albans a long time, so I know a lot of people. I go to the market and everyone knows me. That’s what I like, a friendly atmosphere.

I’m from Watford originally, I only came to St Albans in 1939. I left school at 14, you didn’t have to pass any exams in those days. I started work in an office, then went on to work in an envelope factory. I was there for six years until I got married. I used to cycle six miles to work and back every day. I like exercise and I think that’s one of the things that keeps me going today.

The war broke out the day after we got married. Everyone used to say that’s what caused it! While my husband was serving overseas in the army, I worked on the milk round. I really enjoyed it as I got to know everyone in the area.

Charity shops have changed

I haven’t stopped since then, and still do a couple of shifts a week at the Scope shop. Nowadays I mainly do the till and help with tidying up on the shop floor. Fortunately, I’m alright on the arithmetic, and can keep an eye out for thieves.

Old lady standing in a scope shop with a Scope bib on
Ethel, a volunteer in the St Albans Scope charity shop

I’ve seen a lot of strange donations come in over the years. You’d be surprised what you see in some of the bags! We do get a lot of designer stuff donated these days. We get customers who come in just to pick up designer bargains. We have a lot of younger customers now too – charity shops don’t have the same image they used to have. We often get young people volunteering with us as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award. Volunteering can help people get in to work, it’s a job getting a job these days.

Volunteering is a great way to meet people

I went paragliding in my seventies, and I’ve taken a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. I’ve done most things I wanted to do, and have done a fair bit of travelling.

I’ve got a few plans for my birthday. I have a big family – three children, eight grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren, so I’m having three parties. That’s one more than the queen!

Scope do an awful lot of good. Volunteering in my local Scope shop means that I get to meet a lot of different people, and that’s what I like. Local communities are a good thing, if anyone needs a bit of extra help, we help each other out, that’s what the world’s for.

If you’re feeling inspired by Ethel’s story, take a look at how to get involved as a Scope volunteer.

Read more about Ethel in her recent newspaper feature.

Feel great with a bank holiday clear out!

Bank holidays. A to-do list. The two go hand in hand with an extra day to get those jobs done and de-clutter our homes.

Clear out your clutter

This bank holiday why not box and bag up toys, clothes, books, old phones and anything else you think needs a new home.

As summer, hopefully, approaches now is a great time to bag up those winter clothes you never wore, box up toys the children no longer play with and we all have that one cupboard for storing general clutter with no clue what is inside! This Bank Holiday we have the very solution – and you can get the kids on board too.

overflowing-box-of-toys-resized
Box overflowing with toys

 

Bank holiday to do list

Step one: Fill a bag
Step two: Drop it off at Scope
Step three: Feel great!

Now that we’ve given you your list of things to do, be ruthless and start this May clutter-free. Simply fill up as many bags as you can with clothes, shoes, DVDs, games, old mobile phones and take it to your nearest scope shop. It’s that easy and you will feel great in so many ways.

Clothing hanging up
Clothes hanging up

Gift Aid it!

A little bit more effort can make all the difference. Please Gift Aid your bag of goods. This means that for every £1 we make we can claim an extra 25p from the Government. Take a look at our Gift Aid terms and conditions.

That great feeling

In addition to having more space in your wardrobe, around the house and in the garden, by donating your stuff to one of our 240 shops, you will be helping us to support disabled people and their families. Every bag you donate raises about £20 to fund our work which is dedicated to making this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

For more information on how you can support us, please visit our website.

5 tips to help you declutter your home

This month we’re asking you to become a #GreatDonateHero, and take a bag of donated goods to your local Scope shop.

Jasmine runs Change Your Space and is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers UK. Here she gives her top five tips to help you declutter your home.   

I am a professional organiser. I climb up into lofts with people who are moving house and daunted by having to delve into the recesses of their home. I listen while clients sort through the wardrobe of a Bed with loads of clothes piled on top of itloved one who has passed. I’ve gone into homes where no one else has been for five years and you can hardly make it into the hallway.

Through it all I’ve learnt a major lesson: it’s rarely just about the stuff. Sorting is likely to be an emotional journey through your identity, history, relationships and self-esteem –  but that is an amazing journey too.

There are great benefits to a good review of your belongings:Large pile of games, board games and toys spilling out of a cupboard

  • Doing your bit: recycling and charitable donations are good for the environment and community
  • Financial: the average home has about £600 of unused items residing in cupboards and lofts
  • More space: it is estimated that we would gain 30% more room from conducting a review
  • More efficiency: 80% of what we file we never refer to again
  • Time saving: we spend 20 minutes a day trying to find important items that are hiding
  • Clarity: the average 10 year old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 dailyBox full of scattered paper and documents

Knowing it’s good for us may still not be enough to commit time to the process. So how do we make progress with our sort out and stay motivated?

My top five tips to personally equip ourselves for a review:

  1. The power of memories comes from accessing them regularly and not the volume.

    This can be a key way to navigate through inherited items, children’s pictures, and family photographs. Think of a format by which you can be in touch with that memory. I’ve created a scrapbook of photos of a ball gown collection with the stories associated with them for a client. This brought great joy to her and the three wardrobes of clothing could be re-homed.

  2. Celebrate finding something you thought was lost.

    This will definitely happen. It’s usually in the first hour of a sort session, but we always take time to celebrate this find. Be pleased with yourself. When a birthday present was rediscovered we had a little celebration there in the loft. So many of our belongings are about joyous times. Take time to reconnect with that.

  3. Have structure and parameters to your sort.

    This can be that you are tackling this one cupboard for one hour and you have your recycling and donations bag at the ready. It will call you back to task when emotions can start to cloud what you are doing.

  4. Be content with a first sift.

    Rather than agonising over whether to keep items that may have sentimental poignancy, satisfy yourself to go through the area making easy decisions first. Where is the excess cardboard? Where are the clothes you can donate easily? Leave tougher decisions to a second sift when you have made progress on clearing a space first.

  5. Make a memory box.

    There has been much written about whether an item sparks joy, and the psychology of making decisions, but I never presume what people want to keep and what they wish to let go. What I do find helps is having a memory box where items are to be kept well. When you know you have a few things kept safe that remind you of key chapters, you don’t feel as if you have to keep everything.

Feeling inspired? Watch our #GreatDonateHero film below, find your local Scope shop and get sorting!

If you’d like to find out more from Jasmine about decluttering, just email her and she can send you some tips for your particular problem area: jasmine@changeyourspace.co.uk