What a bargain…!

Volunteers and clients, front from left, Trish Hawkins, Lienie Scheepers and Venessa Simons. Back, from left, are Val Waters, Lorna Marshall, Chris Marshall and Rachel Thompson.

Back in 1988, Somerset West Rotary Club and the relatively newly-formed Helderberg Hospice, were looking for an ongoing fund-raising project.

The responsibility of taking on a lease and finding enough volunteers to help run the shop was too much for any one club, so the Helderberg Rotary Club and the Helderberg Lions Club were invited to join the venture.

The running costs and profits raised would be equally divided between the Helderberg Hospice and the three service clubs, who could use their share to assist with the many other needy causes in the Helderberg.

This was how the Bargain Box worked for 11 years, until Helderberg Hospice had become so well established, that they could run their own dedicated hospice shops, while the Bargain Box continued to help with a variety of needy causes, as depicted on the lovely board in our shop.

All sorts of worthy and well-run causes have been assisted, from Cotlands to Animal Welfare, and many inbetween.

Fast forward 30 years, to March 31 this year, when the shop celebrated the opening of the original tiny premises situated at the bottom of the driveway off Main Road, next to what is now the 7 Eleven.

The shop was a tiny box, and hence the name Bargain Box Charity Shop.

Since then the shop has moved three times, each time to a larger premises, but still full of bargains for those in the know.

In fact, there is usually a queue outside the shop on Thursdays, waiting for opening time at 1pm, as these customers know that most of the newly-received items will have been sorted and hung up by the hardworking group, who work all morning to get the shop ready.

None of the above could have been achieved without the combined efforts of the three managing service clubs, plus help from Gordon’s Bay Lions, and our wonderful team of volunteers from all walks of life, including the Union of Jewish Women, and men from the Jewish Guild.

No one is paid to work at the Bargain Box, so we are volunteers , many of whom have worked at the shop for the whole 30 years.

Expenses are kept to a minimum, and while most beneficiaries know that the help received has come from the Lions or Rotary clubs, few know that the funding for any aid has been raised at the Bargain Box.

Most of all, we have been fortunate enough to go on receiving the support of the wonderful and generous people of Somerset West, who continue to remember us when disposing of unwanted clothing, curtains, linen, bric-a-brac etc.

If you have anything no longer of use to you, please deliver it to our shop in Dirkie Uys Street, next to Leisure Pools and EccoVision.

Alternatively, call 076 245 1141 or 021 851 6360 to arrange for collection.

Opening hours are Wednesdays, from 2pm to 5pm (half-price clothes day), Thursdays from 1pm to 5pm, Fridays from 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 9am to noon.