As part of Jellybean’s 12 Days of Giving initiative, I was able to donate half a day of my time to the wonderful charity Blue Cross for Pets.

Blue Cross helps thousands of pets in need every month, providing veterinary care, expert behaviour support and help finding them loving happy homes, as well as advice and education for current or future pet owners and pet bereavement support. They develop lifelong relationships with pets and owners, providing quality care that is both accessible and non-judgemental.

The charity relies on voluntary donations, whether that be in the form of giving time, money, or clothing and personal items that can be sold in their nationwide stores. On Friday 23rd November I was lucky enough to show my support by volunteering at my local charity shop in Egham.

The shop sells everything from clothing and accessories to DVDs and boardgames (and even a vintage projector!), all with the aim of raising vital funds for their wonderful cause. I was pleasantly surprised by just how busy the shop was throughout the day, from the minute it opened to the time I left there was a constant influx of customers, showing just how great the support from the local community really is. The atmosphere in the store was fantastic, there were 5 of us working that day (with a guest appearance from the area manager Mike Gill) and there was never a quiet moment. The staff were incredibly friendly and passionate about giving their time to such an amazing charity.

My first task involved checking that all the non-clothing items on display were labelled with not only a price but also the week number. Having a week number on all the items allows the store to keep track of how long an item has been on display for – stock is then rotated every few weeks, with the items that are taken off the shelves sent to a different store to give them a second chance at being sold. I was then tasked with finding new items to put on the shelves, which involved digging around the back room through the hundreds of generously donated goods – I settled on some gorgeous Christmas decorations in light of the festive season.

The rest of my time at the store was spent sorting through the clothing to ensure that sizes were in the correct order and in the right places. I chatted to a few of the customers, a lot of whom are regulars, who all said they like to visit the store whenever they can to support the fantastic work that the Blue Cross does for animals.

Mike, the area manager, told me that the charity has now also extended into the world of e-commerce, through eBay, to sell some of their more valuable items. More and more stores are also opening every month, helping to raise the charities profile and also raise vital funds that are so important.

It was definitely a worthwhile morning and I will definitely be going back to visit, not only to bring some donations of my own but also to buy some of their amazing items – one man’s trash is definitely another man’s treasure!

If you’d like to find out more about their life-changing work or to make a donation, visit the website https://www.bluecross.org.uk/. Your generous gift can help them to change even more pets’ lives this Christmas and beyond.

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