A charity shop run entirely by volunteers has raised nearly three quarters of a million pounds for the charity CAFOD in its 24-year history, and is now appealing for volunteers to help keep the shop open for generations to come.

The shop – the only one in the country solely dedicated to raising funds for CAFOD – was opened in 1993 thanks to the kind donations of local Liverpool people. Businesses and volunteers were invited to donate a one-off amount of £50 or £100, with the promise that it would be paid back once the shop started earning. But Liverpool’s generosity did not end there, and when the time came each contributor refused to accept their money back, with the proceeds instead going to CAFOD’s work overseas.

The shop, set up by Harry Wallace, Jim McCauley and Tony Redmond in 1993, three men who ‘just wanted to help people’, has been run by a team of devoted volunteers ever since.

An integral part of the volunteers’ lives, Win Wallace, wife of founder Harry, described how the shop acted as “a bit of a social club!”  She retired from working in the shop at the age of 79 in August 2016, and said: “I worked in the shop for 23 years, and it was lovely as you really got to know people.  Customers would come in all the time, sometimes just for a chat.  I do miss it. Harry and I would offer a pickup service and collect people’s donations for the shop.”

CAFOD aims to help people overseas to help themselves by equipping them with the skills and opportunities needed to live with dignity, support their families and give something back to their communities.

Ged Edwards, a local CAFOD representative, said: “On the first day of trading in June 1993, the shop raised £160. Since then, the volunteers have gone on to raise a massive £715,000.

“The volunteers are wonderful, so generous and committed to what they do.  They continue to make such a vast difference across the world.  It provides much-needed goods for the local community and it’s a great place to meet others.  Sometimes we don’t think we can do much but a few hours spent at the CAFOD shop changes all that!” 

The story of the 24-year-old charity shop that continues to glue the community together

Years go by, but some things remain the same: Volunteers outside the CAFOD shop in 1993 (L) and 2017 (R).

The shop is based on St John’s Road, Waterloo. To ensure the future of the CAFOD shop, there is a desperate need for local Waterloo volunteers who can donate a few hours of their time a week.  To find out more or to register your interest in volunteering at the shop, please contact Wendy on 0151 286 4003 or email liverpool@cafod.org.uk. Hours are flexible and jobs varied.

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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