YOUTH MATTERS Shahna Thwaite...Never popped into a charity shop? You’re missing a treat

Say you were interviewing a room full of people about the subject of charity shops: some going that afternoon to collect their dole; a mother amid a load of little ’uns scurrying around her; or the ready-made millionaire who has never done a day’s work in their life.

You ask them: ‘Do you regularly visit your local Oxfam?’

How many people – and which ones – would say ‘Yes’ to that question?

Probably not as many as you may think, for charity always appears to portray a certain image, doesn’t it?

The average person assumes in a charity shop all you would be able to find is old cast-offs that have merely been discarded.

One day I saw an interesting book in the window of Oxfam and stumbled in. I have to admit it was my first visit, but little to-know what this moment would hold.

I glanced towards the till expecting a retired, older person to glance back. Instead there was a smiling youngster willing to help.

To cut a long story short – this inspired me to ask about work there, to which I was then told it would be voluntary but could start tomorrow.

And so I did. And two and a half years on, can happily say it has been one of the most inspiring choices I have made in a long time.

Day after day we get piles of things delivered to us. Maybe completely unused goods, picturesque pictures that perfectly fill that gap in your bedroom, valuable ‘sought-after’ books, which I admit is very much to my liking!

Or someone may come to look for the right thing to wear for a certain occasion. We always have a vast outlay of items and more often than not you would be able to find the most perfect outfit to make you stand out.

Even though it is voluntary, it has given me a whole different outlook on charity work.

There is always the nicest team of staff working in all areas, as everyone is doing it for a different reason. It helps make it a more interesting, sometimes curious but always enthralling experience.

In shows charity isn’t just for the poor and needy.