How a charity shop became my second home To celebrate Love Your Local Hospice week, we’re encouraging you to visit one of our ‘shops with a heart’ – our 16 charity shops across Birmingham. To find out what makes our shops so unique, meet Jeanette, one of our fabulous shoppers. A regular at our store in Bartley Green, Jeanette explains why she likes popping into her local Birmingham St Mary’s charity shop and why it’s the people that make it so special. I love shopping at Birmingham St Mary’s! Not only do I always pick up a bargain but the team are so friendly here. They don’t just serve you, they always ask you how you are and what you’ve been up to. They really get to know you which makes shopping here such a wonderful experience. I’ve been coming here ever since it opened in 2012 and normally visit about four times a week. I like to come here regularly because there’s always a bargain to be had and I don’t want to miss out. Plus, I like to catch up with the staff and volunteers here – even if I’m just passing the shop, I’ll always pop my head round the door and say hello! As I live on my own, coming to the shop is a chance for me to catch up with people and socialise. There’s a real community feel here and everyone knows each other and gets along – that includes the staff and the shoppers. In fact, it was just yesterday when I saw a new lady shopping at the store. As I didn’t recognise her, I introduced myself and found out that she had just moved to the area. It was nice to get talking to her and now hopefully, she’ll know a friendly face down the street. One of my favourite memories at the shop is the time the team surprised me with a birthday card and gift. Someone must have let slip that my birthday was coming up soon and when I next went into the shop, they had all signed a card and had bought me some makeup. It was so thoughtful and I was so overwhelmed with their kindness. It still touches me now. If I had to describe the shop in three words, I’d say: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! It really is a wonderful place and it’s good to know that whilst I’m picking up a bargain, I’m also helping Birmingham St Mary’s at the same time. I didn’t really know much about the Hospice before I started shopping here but thanks to all the posters and leaflets, I now know how valuable their care is to the community. The staff and volunteers are so passionate about the Hospice and I think that’s what makes shopping here so special too. It creates such a lovely, caring atmosphere and it’s definitely why the shop has become my second home! If you want to bag a bargain whilst helping your local hospice, you can find your nearest shop here.