‘I’ve bought all sorts of things from the shop since I started working here’
The running costs once the hospice is built will be £1.5m a year so the shops will be very important
We asked the new head of fundraising for Huddersfield-based charity the Forget Me Not Trust, Karen Dineen, to show us what the charity’s Lindley shop has to offer. HILARIE STELFOX went along to find out
THE Forget Me Not charity shop in Lindley is the new kid on the block, but already has its regulars.
“It’s quite amazing what we are given to sell,” says the charity’s new fundraising manager, Karen Dineen.
“I spent a day in the shop recently and couldn’t believe the number of designer labels. Some of the clothes have clearly never been worn. They never stay on the rails long, though.”
Karen, who commutes from her home in Sheffield, may be new to the trust, but she has spent a number of years working in the charity sector.
She was formerly with the Burton Street Foundation in Sheffield, a charity providing community facilities for adults and young people with learning disabilities.
She also has a certificate in fundraising management from the Open University’s Business School..
She said: “I went to the foundation in an administrative capacity at first and didn’t have any experience in fundraising.
“I started with coffee mornings and car boot sales and then we received money for training. So I took a distance learning course and got in touch with the Institute of Fundraising.”
With the Forget Me Not Trust, which is aiming to raise £3m to found a children’s hospice and respite care centre in Huddersfield, she will be involved in all aspects of fundraising, from sourcing major contributors to accepting smaller donations from local supporters.
Karen describes herself as passionate about working for a charity. She is the successor of Mandy Barwick, who helped to raise the profile of the Forget Me Not Trust and was the public face of the charity for three years.
The charity is going from strength to strength, says general manager Rob Wilde, adding: “We’ve just had a month when we took £100,000, which is fantastic.
“The first shop opened last September and has gone incredibly well. The board of trustees has backed a retail strategy for up to 25 or 30 shops, in Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield.
“So far we’ve raised £1.4m and the running costs once the hospice is built will be £1.5m a year, so the shops will be very important for the long term.”
Charity shops are becoming increasingly common on the high streets of towns and villages. Rob believes that they can function happily alongside other retail outlets. “We have our regular customers and, like any retailer, we have a niche market.
“We want to be innovative and will be looking to sell furniture and other goods alongside clothes,” explained Rob.
At the moment the Lidget Street shop is staffed by a full-time manager, Diane Radcliffe, and a team of volunteers. As the charity opens further shops more volunteers will be needed.
“It’s amazing what goes on behind the scenes; there’s a lot of work,’’ said Karen.
For our photoshoot Karen found three stunning outfits, the most expensive of which was just over £30 and the cheapest £16.
“I’ve bought all sorts of things from the shop since I started working with the trust,’’ said Karen. “And I find all sorts of things for my 11-year-old daughter. She thinks it’s wonderful when I arrive home with a bagful of clothes.”