By the time you are reading this article, Christmas will have been and gone, but you may still have presents to buy or be planning ahead for next year! Fear not, as there are shops along the High Road that might be able help you, won’t break the bank and raise vital money for good causes at the same time.

Yes, we are talking about charity shops. Those much-ridiculed outlets for offering cheap junk that no one wanted unless you had no money and clothes that were ‘just fit for scarecrows’ might in the past have seemed just one stage up from a jumble sale. But how things have changed. What with some charity shops rebranding themselves as ‘vintage’, more of the population using them as they struggle with their finances, as prices keep on rising on an almost daily basis.

Beeston currently has 13 charity shops covering 11 charities; Oxfam and White Rose have two shops each. Prices for the same type of item can vary from shop to shop. Some are cheaper than others, so it pays to visit them all. It’s something I enjoy doing on a Saturday morning. Of course, most of the items are one-offs, unless you’re talking about Dan Brown novels or Susan Boyle CDs. So, if you see it, grab it, as it might not be round for long.

Also, a lot of the shops offer new goods. Sometimes brand names, or items under their own name. Mainly cards and a few gifts, although Oxfam do a neat line in Moomin merchandise. There’s even a couple of them that sell former goods for sale donated by Amazon.

Not many charity shops take electrical appliances these days, but Headway and Sue Ryder do. Likewise with furniture. This tends to be Treetops and Sue Ryder. Once PDSA sold lots of small pieces of furniture, but not anymore. And who can forget Betel, situated in the old McDonalds restaurant, a treasure trove of wardrobes, tables, and bookshelves – now the Bendigo Lounge.

I thought the easiest way of comparing the shops and what they sell was to create a grid. It’s what I generally use when I’m planning to purchase something expensive. So, I can work out which is the best item to buy. One that ticks the most boxes.

 

The scores are purely based on my own observations and experiences. One major factor is the size of the shop floor. Clearly a small shop like Cancer Research can’t stock as much as Rainbows or White Rose can. But it does its best and is always busy.

We at the Beestonian hope this guide helps you with your Christmas present hunting and hope you find all those well thought out gifts for your friends and family, ready to be placed under the Christmas tree in time for next year!

CDF