Behind the scenes at our charity shops

With the cost-of-living crisis effecting our pockets, we are all looking for ways to save money. Our 7 charity shops in Bath, Chippenham, Frome, Devizes and Trowbridge provide low-cost items to members of the public. Many people rely on them to be able to find cheap, good quality clothes, household items and even bikes.

The shops encourage the recycling of pre-loved items, as well as providing Julian House with important income which helps to fund our projects and services. Our eBay shop also sells some of the more specialised items.

This year our charity chops will contribute over £200,000 towards the charity’s vital services.

We spoke to Laura, the manager from our newest charity shop in Devizes, about the experience of working in the charity shop environment…


Can you describe an average day at the charity shop?

There’s no such thing as an average working day here. It’s important to expect the unexpected, to have a back-up plan for your first plan, as every day is different.


What are your priorities in your Devizes shop?

Customers like to see fresh stock daily, so it’s out with the old and in with the new. For regular shoppers, it’s important to always have new items on sale to keep them coming back.


That must mean a lot of hard work behind the scenes?

The back area is like our engine room. Donated clothing needs to be sorted, hung up, tagged, priced and steamed before it can go out on the sales floor. Also, as donations come in, we need to keep health and safety standards up…which has been especially important over recent years.


What do you enjoy most about working here?

Every day is different and there’s always something to do! The sales floor changes all the time based on what stock we have in, and window displays need refreshing a couple of times a week too. I like the variety.


How do you make sure the Devizes shop stands out from other shops in the town?

There will soon be 12 charity shops in Devizes, so we need to ensure we stand out. That means creating exciting window displays and things like that. I’m pleased that people comment on our customer service –a friendly hello as people walk in, letting them know we’re happy to help. It makes for a nice atmosphere to shop in and in such a small town it really makes us stand out.


What sort of donations do you need most right now?

Winter wear, especially. We like to keep stock in season, so the turnover is fast. If people could donate any good quality winter clothing they’ve got, that’d be so helpful. When supporters are having a clear-out, what we’d like them to consider is ‘will someone buy this?’ We do get some money for well-worn garments, but what we really want is items that can go on display and raise much needed funds for our many projects.


Do you need more volunteers?

The Julian House shops are always looking for volunteers and the shops rely on them so much. Every one of our volunteers are vital to keeping things moving, both here in Devizes and in all our shops. It’s fun and the work is varied and interesting. For someone getting back into employment, volunteering is a great opportunity and can look good on your CV too.


Anything else you’d like people to know?

All our shops are happy to take donations during opening hrs Monday through to Saturday. What we always really need in particular is men’s clothing. However, we always need good quality ladies & men’s clothing, shoes, handbags, as well as bric-a-brac and fiction books. We also take CDs, linen, children’s items…as long as they’re not damaged. Think ‘will someone buy this?’ before you donate. It costs us to dispose of rubbish, so keeping the quality high is so important.



Our charity shop are always looking for volunteers. If you can spare a few hours each week, we would love to hear from you: