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Why I wanted to manage a ‘Shop with a Heart’

9 February 2018

To celebrate Love Your Local Hospice week, we’re encouraging you to visit our ‘Shops with a Heart’ – our 16 charity shops across Birmingham.

To find out more about what you can find in store, meet Tracy Height, shop manager at Harborne. Having worked at Birmingham St Mary’s for eight and a half years, she explains why shopping with us is much more than just bagging a bargain…  

I absolutely love my job! Even when a day has been slightly challenging, I still enjoy it. I’ve been working at the Hospice for over eight years now and still a feel a sense of pride when I tell people where I work.

As shop manager, my overall aim is to raise as many funds as I can for the Hospice. Along with my team, we take in donated goods, check to see if they’ve got Gift Aid, process them, put them on sale and then provide good customer service to our wonderful shoppers.

My team here is absolutely brilliant and is made up of Gemma, my assistant manager, and nine fantastic volunteers, who are all vital in helping to run our shop. One of the volunteers is actually my Mum, Margaret – everyone seems to know who she is and lots of people will just pop into the shop to have a chat with her!

Dealing with customers everyday means I try to be as personable as I can, especially as a lot of people come into the shop with a personal connection to the Hospice. That’s probably one of the more unusual aspects of my role – talking to people who have been recently bereaved. More often than not, I’ll find myself in the shop corner having a confidential chat about the loss of a loved one and how the Hospice supported them. Whilst it may seem upsetting, it’s a constant reminder of the good work we do and makes me even more passionate about my role.

In fact, building good customer relations is the best bit about my job. We’re not a national charity, we’re a local one and I’m always amazed at how many people have experienced the services of our Hospice. We hear time and time again how grateful people are for our support, which is just fantastic.

I actually know first-hand how brilliant the care is at Birmingham St Mary’s. The very reason I wanted to work here is because of the care and support they gave my grandmother. She spent some time at the Inpatient Unit and when she came out, she was a totally different person – it was amazing. After that, I have always supported the Hospice as a way of saying thank you but when a friend told me that a shop manager role had become available, I knew I had to go for it. And now, eight and half years later, I’ve never looked back – I’m just as passionate about this role now as I was back then!

To find your local store so you can Shop with a Heart, why not take a look here. Or, if you would like to find out more about our volunteering opportunities, find out more here.