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14 February 2019

People are often curious about what happens to their donations after they have been dropped off at our charity shop ,so I thought I'd put together an article on what really goes on behind the scenes at 68-70 Cornwall Street ...

The donation arrives we will ask you if you would like to Gift Aid your donation ,some of you will be already asking " what's that then ? " let me explain ,If you are a current UK tax payer and you Gift Aid your donation Cats Protection can claim and extra 25p for each £1 that your donation sells for back from the government for free ...yes free!! it doesn't cost you a thing all we need to do is capture a few details from you and the rest gets done by us. So for example we sell a pair of your very posh worn only once (as they killed your feet !! ) shoes for £10 and they are Gift Aided this now becomes boosted up to £12.50 😍.In our first year of Gift Aid sales this raised enough extra free cash for us to cover the cost of a new fostering pen ,which is serious money that you our supporters raised , doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy🤗 If its a home collection and I'm picking up goods from you we can also sign you up for Gift Aid at the same time.

Next stop ....the work room ,the real engine of the Charity Shop ,this is where our lovely volunteers sort your donations ,they grade the clothing into summer and winter stock, tag and Gift Aid the good items individually with that particular customers personal Gift Aid numbered stickers .From this the current seasons clothing will be hung on size cubed hangers and then sent to be steamed by the brave soul who mans this section. Steaming volunteers are highly valued in the team, this is a more demanding job with close attention to quality and detail. The garments are processed in this way to freshen and deodorise them ready for the shop floor, also doubling up as a 2nd visual check for any stains or damage .Dave, Ashley and Leslie work their little socks off to ensure that our customers have well presented quality items on the shop floor.

Rag Sort ....So what happens to all the things we cant sell ? Theresa ,Kathy and Annette our main sort girls remove all the torn,bobbled and dirty clothing or linen and bag it up for our Rag Man. He buys all the damaged items from us including shoes and handbags which we call hard rag .We love it when people have pre-sorted their items and taken out any unsellable/soiled garments as it speeds this process up if its separated. We even get cash for old bras, books and media so our links with our Rag Man are very important. The sold rags get used in different ways,any non sold rotated good garments usually get sold abroad to help communities support themselves .Some vintage and other garments get sold onto festival stall holders, some will be chopped up into rags for garages hence the term Rag Man ,the really unsellable will be used for mattress filling after cleaning and fibre reclamation ,so in the end there is very little waste. This helps keep clothing out of landfill so it is very important to take your items directly to the charity shop you choose. This will then ensure that the revenue will directly benefit the charity and keep it at the heart of your chosen cause.

Household /Books /Media .......Simon and Shaun are often to be found sorting these items along with our house clearances as we often need a bit of muscle. Any rare items are checked on Ebay to make sure we get our pricing right as we often have unusual collectables in this sort of donation and we don't want to miss a rare gem. Unfortunately we do get a lot of broken items donated which have to be disposed of so when someone has really taken the time to pack things well we really appreciate the thought.

Once everything is cleaned it goes upstairs to myself and Claire our manager to be priced then sold by Natalie our till girl .Everyone in the team tries their very best to make sure you enjoy your shopping experience but we rely on you our wonderful supporters to make this happen. I hope you have enjoyed this insight behind the scenes on what we do and would like to thank you all for you continued generosity from all at the branch and all of our cats in care.

Tracy Assistant Manager Plymouth Cats Protection Shop