Shop to show you care

In these days of ever-rising prices and dwindling financial resources, buying at thrift shops which support local charities, such as Helderberg Hospice, is the best way to beat the budget blues.

Apart from the delight at finding a wonderful bargain, there is also the satisfaction in knowing that all profits generated by the shops will be channelled directly into the specialised care given to the hospice patients.

Helderberg Hospice runs three second-hand shops in the Helderberg area, two of them in Somerset West and one in the Panorama Building, Fagan Street, Strand.

The Somerset West shops have both recently moved from Drama Street to bigger and brighter premises at 139 Main Road, Somerset West.

The two shops are adjacent to one another on the property, and provide a wide range of quality goods for both the bargain hunter and the more discerning shopper.

The shops stock clothing, home ware, furniture, books, bric-a- brac, paintings and toys.

Louise Smith, general manger of the hospice shops, says the secret to success to buying at thrift shops is to pop in as regularly as possible as stock changes frequently.

“We are very privileged to receive donations of goods almost on a daily basis and the best bargains are snapped up immediately, sometimes as they come through the door,” she says.

This is particularly so when items of furniture are delivered to the shops. Who can resist a cosy wing back chair, a bathroom vanity stand or a vintage dressing table which needs only a trendy coat of paint to be transformed into a masterpiece?

“We are extremely grateful to those who so generously donate good quality items to the Hospice shops for re-sale,” says Louise. “Without their kind support we would not be able to create a reliable source of income for the care of our patients.”

Last year the three shops generated sufficient funds to cover 25% of the annual cost of running the extensive care services of Helderberg Hospice.

Louise says while all the goods are donated, the shops are under great pressure to generate a sustainalbe income for Helderberg Hospice, and pricing is there- fore based on the realistic market value of the item, while bearing in mind that it is pre-loved.

Many of the patients cared for by Helderberg Hospice are unable to contribute financially to the cost of the specialised care they receive and the shops need to make up that shortfall.

“When you buy an item from our shops, you are directly touching the life of a patient and making it possible for Helderberg Hospice to care,” Louise explains.

One of the exciting new enterprises started at the hospice shops is the production of a range of household items linked to a job creation project in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village.

This began with a generous donation of quality fabric and trimmings. Louise, who has previous experience in the textile and manufacturing sector, saw the opportunity to add value to the fabric by turning it into a desirable product.

She linked up with an existing project started by one of the local Rotary groups, and now provides work for two trained machinists from Sir Lowry’s Pass Village who would otherwise be unemployed.

They manufacture a range of attractive cushions, aprons, peg bags and placemats.

“We are happy to take orders”, says Louise, who is currently designing a food bag to be used at one of the local retirement villages. “We are also negotiating the marketing of these products with a partner hospice in Liechtenstein.”

All donations to the hospice shops are greatly appreciated, and Louise appeals particularly to those who have pieces of fabric of two metres or more tucked away in a cupboard to give those towards the sewing project.

Louise can be contacted for more information or to organise the collection of large donations at 021 851 9626.