Second hand goods at affordable prices and a cup of tea!
Our Open Door Community Shop aims to reach our local neighbourhood with the love of Jesus. Staffed mainly by volunteers from the church and the neighbourhood, it is normally open:
- Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm
- Saturday 10:00am to 1:00pm
The second-hand goods available include:
- Ladies clothing
- Men's clothing
- Children's clothing
- Books and videos
- Music - tapes & CDs
There is also a seating area for serving refreshments, which has proved to be an invaluable place for listening and talking with our neighbours. All donations of second-hand goods are gratefully received!
Part 1 - the shop area
People from the area tell us that they love coming into the shop. There is a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where people feel at ease. There are both busy and less busy times with no regular pattern, but at any time we are happy to spend time with you.
People regularly comment that the items for sale represent good value for money, with prices appropriate to the local economy. And people appreciate the willingness of staff to chat, especially when customers come in with concerns.
We give praise and thanks to God for the volunteers who help staff the shop. Volunteers come because they want to come. They feel they are doing God's work. And they are willing volunteers, throwing themselves 100% into each task.
We experience good fellowship among the staff. Each morning we begin the day with prayer. The majority of the staff are Christians. But even those who are not-yet-Christian listen and watch our worship and prayer. Who knows how God will use this witness?!
We have a few challenges. Some customers are challenging in their character, often visiting the shop because they need to talk. With other people there is a language barrier, but we get by with much pointing, a few mistakes, and laughter!
The shop needs things to sell. If you are able to donate something, that would be gratefully received. We currently need bric-a-brac, and items of clothing.
We also need people to help staff the shop area, particularly for Tuesday afternoons, but help with any half day or full day of the week would be appreciated. Could this be you?
We would appreciate your prayers for every aspect of the work, from displaying stock, keeping the place tidy, manning the till, to chatting with customers. And in particular, prayer for spiritual protection, as some customers come with demons attached to them.
Part 2 - the shop cafe
The cafe is located to the rear of the shop and is open at the same time as the shop. It can seat up to 10 people comfortably around the tables and easy chairs. Some people come into the shop just to enjoy a drink and a chat in the cafe. Others do some shopping, then stop awhile for a drink. Music from a selection of Christian worship CD's is usually quietly playing in the background.
Our staff are always willing to listen. People regularly tell us they appreciate being able to just sit and talk with someone. We try hard to ensure a caring approach, particularly by simply remembering people's names - that makes a big difference!
Our normal first response to people is "Can we pray about that?", which is usually welcomed. The shop cafe atmosphere is regularly described as "quiet", or "lovely", or "it's different!", to which we know and tell people that "it's because God is here".
The shop cafe area is an opportunity for people to see that Christians are OK. We're normal: we'll listen, yes. But we also get up to some antics and jokes. Through it all we have caring conversations.
Our volunteers who staff the shop cafe area have a wide skill-set, yet there is always a skill that can be developed or a new skill to be learnt. Compassion for others; a listening ear; being appropriately assertive; not afraid to offer prayer; able to make a 'good' cuppa; able to wash up; to be generally 'aware' and sensitive to the needs of others; confidence in the knowledge that God loves you. If these are characteristics you'd like to see more of in your life, consider volunteering in the shop cafe, particularly on either a Tuesday afternoon or a Thursday afternoon.
Staff are developing in confidence and are growing in their relationship with God, mostly as a result of "talking God". Some customers have challenging personalities for various reasons, and it can be hard to be constantly "giving", yet customers are encountering the God who loves them. Jesus never promised it would be easy, but He promised to be with us and that we would know the guiding and enabling of the Holy Spirit. This is so wonderfully true almost every day in the shop cafe.
Part 3 - processing donations
Donations are one of the most important aspects of the shop (with only staff and volunteers of greater importance!). Without your kind donations, there would be no shop! So, "what happens next" when a donation is received?
Understanding what we have received is essential. So there is a lot of sorting out; clothes separated between men's, women's and children's. Brand new item or used item? Is something of particular value? What price to charge? When should we put it on display in the shop? Is it too used, or broken, to be sold? These questions and more are thought about when looking through stock.
Occasionally, where new items are received, we put these to one side to build a collection of items for the shop Free Gift Day. Held each year in the run-up to Christmas, we make items available to choose, free of charge, as Christmas presents. Whilst customers enjoy a mince pie and a drink we wrap the present, and chat with the customer about the meaning of Christmas and the ultimate present from God of Jesus. Watch the Events section of the website for details nearer Christmas!
Where an item may be of particular value, we place this for sale through our ebay shop.
Finding time to process donations can be challenging, as each day seems to go by very quickly and, whilst being busy, sometimes it feels like little actually gets done! So, something practical that we would like to put into place is to have a small team of people able to come to the shop one evening each week, to help with tagging and hanging clothes. Could this be you? If you would like to contribute time to the shop but are unavailable during normal working hours, working in an evening team could be just for you! Click here to contact the shop manager Cath for further details.