You all know, I hope, that charity shopping is one of my favourite pastimes. I can't resist a bargain, and if I can do some good at the same time all the better. This means that when I was asked (ages ago now *shame*) if I would like to write about the Newlife Foundation, I was only too pleased to say yes.
I've known about Newlife for ages, because their main base is just around the corner from my in-laws' house in Cannock, Staffordshire, so I make a point of popping in to their retail superstore when we're visiting. However, the store was about all I really knew, so I loved the chance to find out a bit more, and spread the word a little.
The Newlife Foundation are a specialist charity, providing essential aids for children with disabilities and life limiting illnesses. Things that can't be provided by social services or their local health board, for whatever reason. That could be a wheelchair, a special bed, communication equipment, depends on the needs of the individual child. They also have loan packs of sensory toys to enable parents to find out what works best for their child before purchasing. The charity are totally funded by donations, and receive no statutory help, which is why they need to raise funds through their store. While their base is in the West Midlands, they help children and families throughout the UK.
Now, I mentioned the retail superstore. Superstore is the right word. Put all thoughts of the average charity shop from your mind, with its stretched jumpers, eau de mothballs scent, mismatched crockery and grouchy pensioners getting in the way of the bargains. Oh no. For a start, all the stock is new. Stock is donated by major high street retailers (I'm not sure if I can say who, but if you've got a good eye and know your High Street fashion, you can tell who some are), de-labelled to remove the original retailer's details, and put up for sake at bargain prices. Some items are end of range, or previous season, others are slight seconds. All are a bargain. Seriously, I've had some beautiful clothes from there, for a fraction of the high street prices. As an example, I bought a hoody with a silly pattern on the front last time I visited for £4.99. I hadn't seen it in stores, but googled it out of interest, and found that the "new" price if I'd bought it in my local store was £35.00. Definitely a good deal. You do have to pay for membership on your first purchase, but even so, this quickly offsets against the level of savings.
|Take your pick!|
|East European Hooker Shoes.|
Its fun too. Something like a good quality jumble sale, with added East European Hooker Shoes. No, really, there's always shoes that could only seriously be worn by someone who never actually stands up in them, in lurid shades of lime, fuchsia and gold glitter. I shouldn't call them that, but you know the kind of shoes I mean. The polite term might be "limo shoes", but I think mine's better. The jumble sale aspect is mostly due by the sheer quantity of clothes on display. They're mostly sorted by size groups (e.g 10 & under, 12 & 14, 16 & 18, 20+), with a few racks where they've got a job lot of the same item in various sizes. If you're the kind of person who likes to pop in, grab the one thing they know they want, and run, then it's probably not for you. But if you like to hunt and find a real bargain, it's bliss.
|Gorgeous skirts, every size but mine!|
The charity are always looking for volunteers to help out with the store's activities. If you're in the West Midlands, love clothing and doing something great for others, you could get involved with sorting & delabelling clothes to go on the shelves, or wherever you are, you can host a party selling items from the store, they are happy for people to get involved or host a coffee morning, or whatever takes your fancy really. Or you could just go and spend your cash! I hope I've inspired you in some way, and I'm sorry it's taken me so long!
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. I am a genuine shopper and member of the retail superstore. I was invited to write about the charity and their store, and I have given my time free of charge in order to support their cause.