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Ella Gauci

uncovers

Hidden Value in Kidlington's Charity Shops



Ella Gauci.   At 16 years of age and still at school in 2018, Kidlington resident Ella Gauci is certainly the youngest writer to contribute to this new series of articles published on Kidlington Voice Online. Ella's passion for Journalism radiates in this her maiden piece for KV where Ella has chosen to open on the theme of Hidden Value in Kidlington's Charity Shops. From her early teens Ella has written fiction and non-fiction and she has edited works for other teenagers across the world. She is researching Mental Illness in Literature particularly on the way this sensitive subject has been represented in recent years. Ella has written on Poverty in America and has contributed to weblogs about History and Fine Arts. With University in her sights Ella plans to take a degree in English before pursing her intended career in Journalism. We are are delighted to welcome Ella Gauci to Kidlington Voice Online, not only to witness her passion for writing but surely to learn from it and be inspired by her example.


Part 1 of 3

Hidden Value in Kidlington's Charity Shops

Have you ever walked past a charity shop and wondered whether you should volunteer? It’s something that has crossed my mind a few times in past years, but my reasons for wanting to volunteer were either to give back to a great cause, or more selfish ones such as wanting something to write on my UCAS application for University. But it never crossed my mind that volunteering would ever benefit me and my wellbeing. I expect that most of us already know that the primary purpose of charity shops is to fundraise for their respective causes, be they for the welfare of animals or human beings. We can donate our unwanted items, find a bargain in the process, and come away with that warm feeling that comes from doing something right.


Friendship, a key value cited by many Charity Shop volunteers.

Charity shops generated revenue of £240 million in 2015/6 - a testament to their significant contribution to helping charitable causes. But the good news is not always all reported. There is something else. Something we might not pick up on - especially if we are distracted in the shop by the prospect of an inexpensive extra woolly jumper for a freezing day, or there’s that colourful hand-painted teapot looking at me from the corner. Something even more valuable to be gained for people who interact with charity shops such as ours in Kidlington.


Part 2 of 3

In researching and going to speak with those who serve in the Charity Shops of Kidlington about what had brought them there to volunteer their work, I saw first hand some of these real-life values in action.

In the run-up to writing this article, I found it insightful to see the background into charity shops, especially from the website of the Charity Retail Association. I had little idea beforehand that the concept of the Charity Shop, a staple in most British villages and towns, was not a universal concept which operates worldwide. Maybe if there were charity shops across the world, we would see more compassion across the globe!



Many volunteers are giving back for a kindness the world has done for them.

Part 3 of 3

90% of volunteers across Britain say that their charity shop is a ‘great place to work’, with three quarters also saying it had boosted their confidence, and this trend was evident in Kidlington’s charity shops. At the Sobell House charity shop in the Kidlington Centre, I spoke to a volunteer who talked to me about why she chose to volunteer. After her mother had cancer, she wanted to support the Sobell House charity which funds hospices for those who are terminally ill. “I enjoy it,” she said to me while organising the back of the shop which is full with donations, “It gives me a sense of purpose as well as having a lot of fun.” The money raised in the Sobell House shop stays in Oxford to fund a hospice which helps over 500 people each week. The manager at Sobell House charity shop said that there is a significant range of reasons why people choose to volunteer, some do it because they are lonely, others want to give back to the community, and some want to make friends. “We always have fun,” she told me with a wide grin on her face, and it is clear from the happy and supportive environment that this charity shop, as for all others in Kidlington, that these are indeed special places for everyone to visit and enjoy their time.



Charity: the act of extending love and kindness unconditionally, a conscious act but the decision is made by the heart without expecting a reward.




Ella Gauci


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