Why Do People Donate To Charity Shops?

It’s an interesting question and I think for 99% of the donations we think we know the answer…

  • They want to support the charity because they have experienced the wonderful work they do.
  • They like to support charities in general and like the thought of their unwanted items having a useful life elsewhere.
  • They recognise that donating unwanted items to charity is a great thing to do for the planet…recycle rather than landfill.

I’m sure there are many more great reasons why people donate and we appreciate the items we get what ever the reason…with one exception…

When items are left on our doorstep out of hours!

7.45am Monday morning this is what greets me…a bag of clothes left (sometime between 4.30pm Saturday and 7.45am Monday). The bag has been torn open and clothes are strewn everywhere!

Somebody may have left these with the best intentions…but we do have signs up asking people not to leave donations when the shop is closed…the only thing I can do with these is put them in the bin.

It’s very frustrating…it makes our shop and quite often the surrounding area look awful…it becomes a health risk for staff and volunteers…how long has it been there…how many dogs have relieved themselves there…is there anything else in there, broken items, sharps…would you want to start your working day clearing this up?

Saturday afternoon I closed the shop at 4pm, popped upstairs for 5 minutes when I came down someone had dumped a broken computer in the doorway!

I couldn’t sell this even if it was working…St Mary’s Hospice will have to pay to dispose of it correctly!

You know…we get some amazing donations into our shops that help raise much needed funds for our wonderful hospice…and I wouldn’t want to alienate any genuine donators…but maybe some people just aren’t aware that when they choose to dump goods on our doorstep they aren’t helping a good cause…in some cases they are actually costing it money!

if you have items you would like to donate but can’t make it when the shop is open…please get in touch by phone or Facebook and we can collect…make sure your donation is making a difference in a good way!


Are You Feeling The Love?

The shops have been busy readying their windows for Valentine’s Day…some fantastic ideas taking shape.

Here at Barrow Shop we’ve really tried to embrace the theme…’This Valentine’s Day…Love Your Hospice’…with our oversized heart in Forget Me Not colours 😊

St Mary’s Hospice…Feel The Love…

A great response to our ‘Close To Your Heart’ blog…it’s great to have so many people willing to share, a big thank you to those that have contributed so far…we’d love to hear from more of you so don’t be afraid to comment…message via Facebook or drop into one of the shops.

I thought I’d share this beautiful poem written and sent in by Lauren.

If you’re feeling creative…and brave why not try writing your own?



Close To Your Heart…

…a calm descended and a plan was formed…


The plan it turns out…was pretty simple…because it’s something that happens naturally all the time…we just don’t necessarily talk about it…we just feel it and accept it.

So…on the run up to this Valentine’s Day we would like you to think about why the hospice is close to your heart…not just think about it…but share it with us…let’s have a bit of shop chatter!

The number of people I speak to in a working day…customers…people dropping off donations…volunteers…all expressing their love…gratitude…affection for St Mary’s Hospice so naturally…wouldn’t it be great to share it…to tell the world how awesome the hospice…it’s volunteers…shops…staff and support groups are?

How can you get involved…that’s the easy bit…send us a message or a picture on Facebook…leave a comment on WordPress…drop into one of the shops.

Let’s start the conversation now…


What Is Valentine’s Day…

You know how sometimes you start thinking about things…then your mind goes off at a tangent and leads you elsewhere…you drift back and forth and suddenly you realise that all of these random thoughts are related…that something links them all…that light bulb moment!

light-bulb-clipart-aha-moment-2First week of January and I start noticing Valentine’s displays popping up in all the high street shops…shock…horror…Valentines…but I’m still finishing off the Christmas cake!!!

After my initial shock I start to panic…what can the hospice shops do for Valentine’s…how can we make our displays different…special?

I started thinking then…what does Valentine’s Day even mean…and is that the same for everybody…so I asked Google (doesn’t everybody?)…what does it mean?

Of course I ended up with a plethora of definitions but my favourite one was this;

Valentine – Something (such as a movie or a piece of writing) expressing uncritical praise or affection (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/valentine.)

And then the penny dropped…Valentine’s Day…it’s about love and caring…and then I knew…the only thing that needs to be expressed in our shop windows this February is the love that flows in abundance for St Mary’s Hospice.

Great idea…stop right there brain…but no…the thoughts kept coming! So much love for the hospice…one day was never going to be enough…what else could we do? My mind was abuzz with ideas…from the sublime to the ridiculous…but then it all started to take shape…a calm descended and a plan was formed…



Demetria, 21, University of Leeds


When I was 16, I moved to Middlesbrough on my own – since then, I don’t really know anyone in Barrow. I first started working with St Mary’s Hospice when I was around 19, and had just come back from my year abroad and found myself with an empty summer ahead of me. I was looking for some CV-fodder and thought that volunteering would at least get me out of the house.

It was a bit daunting at first because I didn’t know anybody, but I came in twice a week throughout the whole summer and ended up loving it. Volunteering forced me to get up and get dressed on rainy days, and made me talk to people that weren’t my mum and my dog – since once I’m out of my uni circle of friends, I tend to become a bit of a hermit.

Aside from how it benefitted me personally, I could feel good knowing that I was helping the local community.

Whenever I am in Barrow during the Christmas and summer holidays, I always come in and ask if they need any help. Even though I can’t commit five days a week for years on end, I can see with my own eyes, how just a few hours here and there whenever I can fit it in really benefits the shop. It’s also a great way to meet and get to know new people from different generations that I wouldn’t really get the opportunity to know otherwise.

I always feel really cheerful when I leave at the end of my session. Barrow can be a bit depressing, but helping the hospice and chatting away to other volunteers while we work can be really, really lovely. I’d recommend to anyone with a few hours to spare a week to come in. Worst case scenario –  no one’s forcing you to go, so you can stop. Best case scenario – you can help the community, make some great new friends, have an amazing new “volunteering” section on your CV, develop tangible retail experience, learn about stock rotation, and how to use a till. The list goes on!


Demi x


There is only one…

There is only one…Retail at St Mary’s Hospice is the official Facebook page for all of St Mary’s Hospice shops and their Warehouse.

This is how it should look…

We will never change the name of the page or replace the logo without notice…if you click on this page you can trust it is St Mary’s Hospice Retail Department you are talking to…search for Retail at St Mary’s Hospice…you can’t go wrong!

The pictures below show Facebook pages which should no longer be operating for St Mary’s Hospice…

If you’re using Facebook and you find yourself directed to one of these pages or any others that say they are operating for St Mary’s Hospice Retail…please block them…they are not the official retail page…

This is the official Retail Facebook page below…it’s pretty awesome and well worth following…don’t bother with imitations when you can have the real thing!

If you visit our Facebook page please like and share…let everyone know how good it is…you can find out all you need to know about any of our shops!