Oxfam Bookshop, Petergate York

This is the blog for the Oxfam book shop, on Low Petergate in York

New Unwrapped!


It’s almost time for the most wonderful time of the year- Christmas! As usual we have a wide selection of Oxfam Unwrapped gifts so you can bring a smile to someone’s face this Christmas- and potentially change someones life.

Oxfam Unwrapped is a collection of unique virtual charity gifts like a Goat, Fix a well or Kit out a classroom. It’s simple, you choose from one of our great gifts, we send you a gift card or e-card to give to your friends or family, and your gift helps to create a world without poverty.

Once you’ve chosen your gift you can personalise your gift card with your own message, choose a special front cover and add a Little Extra (one of our fair trade goodies like our solid ‘Archie the chocolate goat’). And if you’d prefer an e-card we can send that too!


With gifts starting from just £5, it’s essential that you visit us in store to browse our full selection of Unwrapped gifts. We have some brand new and exciting Unwrapped products in store for you to look at as well as our Best Sellers, such as ‘Care for Mum and Babies’ (£16), ‘Honey bees’ (£12) and even a ‘Pile of Poo’ (£9)!. To browse the full selection of Unwrapped, you can visit the Oxfam website:

You can spend your Nectar points on Oxfam Unwrapped. There are specially selected gifts on the Nectar site including a nectar exclusive gift for only £2.50 (500 points). Visit the nectar website to purchase a gift or find out more:


If you have a friend that you think might want nothing more than to bring happiness to someone’s life this Christmas, Oxfam Unwrapped might just be the perfect gift. There are also Unwrapped gifts for weddings and corporate occasions.

Happy shopping!


Haiti Hurricane: latest Oxfam news

Hurricane Matthew was one of the biggest storms recorded in the region and has caused the biggest humanitarian emergency in Haiti since the earthquake 6 years ago. 1.4m people or 12% of Haiti’s population need humanitarian assistance now. More than 2m people have been affected. Around three-quarters of a million people need food aid now.

There are parts of the country that are still inaccessible by road, because of damage. Oxfam is concerned that hunger and malnutrition will start to be serious issues in some parts of the southern peninsula. We are especially worried about cholera and that a renewed outbreak could spread quickly, because water infrastructure has been so damaged and people are now exposed to dirty and contaminated water. There have been more than one hundred new cases of suspected cholera, and six cholera treatments centres were hit by the storm. They need urgent repair before they can start being used again to treat people.

More than 170,000 people have been forced into 224 temporary camps. Many more people are living in damaged homes.

Lost harvests and continued flooding make those most affected vulnerable to a food and health crisis that needs to be prevented. Haiti’s West department (including the capital Port-au-Prince) is considered highly vulnerable due to its population density and high levels of poverty.


Oxfam teams are distributing aid in the south of the county, they are distributing hygiene items and water purification tablets to prevent diseases such as cholera or diarrhoea, and also construction materials. Oxfam is also repairing and installing water tanks. Oxfam has also contacted its partners and UN and government agencies at the national level in order to respond with due diligence and coordination to the aftermath.


Donating to the Haiti Hurricane appeal will help Oxfam save the lives of thousands of Haitians currently at risk of cholera or starvation. Please donate online via this link:


A small donation can go a long way. For every £1 donated:

  • 42p goes towards development work
  • 37p goes towards emergency response work
  • 3p goes towards campaigning for change
  • 10p goes towards support and running costs
  • 8p goes towards fundraising costs

As well as being able to donate online, you can donate directly to the Hurricane appeal in store. Just ask the Oxfam volunteer at the counter next time you visit us. You can also pay by credit or debit card by calling 0300 200 1300, or you can send a cheque payable to Oxfam to Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, OX4 2JY.

Haiti urgently needs your donations. Please remember that sending old clothes etc. can often hinder rather than help, as it can get in the way of distributing more urgent supplies like food, water and hygiene products.

Please, share on social media, join the campaign effort, volunteer and most importantly donate to the Haiti Hurricane appeal. Thank you.


World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

You’d never have guessed it, but here at Oxfam Books Petergate, we loooove books. So when we see an article about the most amazing libraries in the world, we fall hook line and sinker for the click bait and take a look. We weren’t disappointed- some of these libraries are absolutely unreal, and just look at all those books! It’s enough to make any Oxfam Books volunteer smile.

The gorgeous library pictured above is the Library of El Escorial in Spain, a World Heritage site that currently holds over 40,000 volumes and is regarded as one of the best Renaissance libraries in the world. 

This picture is the library of the Dutch Parliament, and contains every record of parliamentary hearings and discussions. Maybe Oxfam Books Petergate should take some inspiration from those amazing stairs and jazz up our fire escape a bit?

This absolutely massive and hugely impressive building is the National Library of Brazil! It was constructed back in 1810 and has since become the largest library in Latin America and the 7th largest in the world. But I bet it doesn’t have a copy of the entire Twilight series, and we do, so who’s the real winner?

The library of Parliament in Canada is literally a Disney villain’s castle, but with books instead of poisoned apples and talking mirrors. The gothic structure is so iconic it’s even featured on the Canadian ten-dollar bill- and I kind of, definitely want to live there.

If you want to look at more amazing libraries, you can follow this link! But never forget, there are books closer to home at our Petergate store 💚

Tag Your Bag: Gift Aid explained


Here at Oxfam Bookshop Petergate we often ask our customers to Tag Your Bag- if you’ve followed our social media accounts for a while, you may even have come across the hashtag #TagYourBag or seen a number of tweets and posts about it. This post is for anyone who is familiar with the phrase, but perhaps doesn’t exactly understand what it means or how Gift Aid works.

Oxfam and Nectar teamed up back in April, and now, if you donate to us and are signed up to our Tag Your Bag scheme you get  two Nectar points for every £1 your item makes, and we can claim 25% more money through Gift Aid.


Donating through Gift Aid means charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) can claim an extra 25p for every £1 you give. It won’t cost you any extra. Charities can claim Gift Aid on most donations, but some payments don’t qualify.

You need to make a Gift Aid declaration for the charity to claim. You usually do this by filling in a form – these are available from our Oxfam Petergate store.


You can include all donations from the last 4 years. Your donations will qualify as long as they’re not more than 4 times what you have paid in tax in that tax year (6 April to 5 April). The tax could have been paid on income or capital gains. You must let Oxfam know if you stop paying enough tax. It’s all fairly straightforward really- if you #TagYourBag Oxfam can claim more money and there’s no extra effort on your part! This is why we encourage all Oxfam customers to fill in a Gift Aid form. Please, feel free to ask about it in store!

There’s further information available for higher rate taxpayers here:





Come celebrate Bookshop Day with us by visiting our store down Petergate today! Tweet us at @OxfamPetergate or comment on our Facebook post and we’ll feature you in a blog post and RT!


We have some great books in store today, and if you can’t make it down to the bookshop you can always visit our online store instead. After a quick scan of the Twitter hashtag, it seems most people are treating themselves to a lovely book today. You just can’t beat the feeling of walking into a room filled with hundreds of books!

Instore Spotlight: Game of Thrones, A Dance With Dragons, inscribed by George R.R Martin



Yes, I did a double take too. Believe it or not, Oxfam Bookshop Petergate has managed to get their hands on an inscribed copy of A Dance With Dragons, as you might be familiar with from the hit TV series Game of Thrones (and if you’re not familiar with it, you must have been living under a rock for the past 5 years).

Now, we know that your first reaction to an inscribed book might be that it is relatively worthless as a gift to anyone other than to whom it is inscribed to. Some people say that signed copies arguably make better gifts because they bear no name and can be given to practically anyone- they tend to be more hesitant with inscribed copies as they are signed to an individual and may not be relevant to anyone else (especially someone who doesn’t share the same name). I personally am of the opinion that inscribed copies are infinitely more interesting than signed copies, as they refer to a unique event in the authors life and often contain a special message, which harbors a great deal more thought and consideration than a book that has been signed in a sequence of hundreds of other books.

And if I’m being totally honest, I would probably purchase an inscribed bin bag from George R.R Martin so a book is frankly quite marvellous #TakeTheThrone

Be sure to visit the store soon and see for yourself! If you’ve already started looking for Christmas presents, I’m sure any Game of Thrones fan would love to find this under their Christmas tree!


We also have lots of other quirky little stocking fillers in store- if you find yourself bumbling along Petergate, give us a visit!

Introducing myself

Oxfam Social Sciences 1

Hello! I’m Sarah and I’m a social media intern at Oxfam Bookshop Petergate. I wanted my first post to briefly articulate why I wanted to work at Oxfam Bookshop Petergate, and what it’s like being part of Oxfam.


Book shops represent different things to different people. For me, visiting Oxfam Bookshop Petergate means taking the time out of my day to relax and treat myself to another crime thriller or Led Zeppelin CD. For my mum, it means scrambling to the non-fiction aisles on the prowl for another book about Vikings. For others, it’s a chance to escape the stress of the day and be surrounded by positive things- Fairtrade coffee, gifts, games, romance novels.

Oxfam Food 4

Every time I’m at the shop I see something different. It could be a local history buff canvassing our York history section; a Marvel fan pouring over our comics; a businessman looking for something to read with his morning coffee. That’s the beauty of Oxfam Bookshops; they bring all these different people together and create joy in order to improve the lives of people living thousands of miles away. Whether it’s a refugee fleeing the crisis in Yemen, a child in need of clean water in Syria or Lebanon,  or a family in the South Sudan- you know that when you donate to Oxfam and buy at Oxfam Books, someone somewhere is going to benefit.


That was one of the reasons I wanted to volunteer here in the first place (that and the fact that I’m a massive nerd who has more books than friends). I’ll be posting to the blog every few days with updates about the shop, the books we have instore, and the latest local and Oxfam news. I hope you enjoy my posts because I’ll definitely enjoy getting to spend time at the shop and procrastinating my dissertation because I have books to read!

I’ll be posting shortly about our ongoing offer on Fairtrade coffee. Speak soon!

Instore Spotlight: New Fairtrade Products

At Oxfam Books Petergate we actually don’t only sell books. Well, we sell mostly books, but as you know from a previous post we also have chocolates, coffee and biscuits to boost your energy after book shopping.

But did you know that we also have games, craft kits, blankets and even flower presses?

The cutest flower press you’ve ever seen

All of our brand new products are Fairtrade. But what do we actually  mean by Fairtrade?

When you buy products with the FAIRTRADE Mark, you support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities.

The Mark means that the ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards.

The standards include:

  • Protection of workers’ rights and the environment
  • Payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price
  • An additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects

All profits from the new products sold in Oxfam shops support Oxfam programmes around the world.

Ideas for outdoor activities, ecoffee cups, colouring letters to create colourful messages, craft breweries guide, games, craft kits and toys.

So, by buying these products you support small-scale farmer organisations or plantations in poverty-stricken countries and their workers, you minimise your environmental impact and you raise money to fight poverty.

Puppets to tell your worries to, frienship bracelets, games, woven blankets, recycled textile rug, handmade phone pouches and purses…

One of our favourite products are the ecoffe cups:

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Aren’t they gorgeous?


Did you know that each year over 100 billion single-use coffee cups end up as landfill? Ecoffee have tasked themselves with reducing this number by creating their unique re-usable coffee cups!

Made with organic bamboo fibre and non-GMO corn starch Ecoffe cups are BPA and Phtalate free. Bamboo fibre being naturally sterile, Ecoffe cups won’t flavour-taint your drinks. They are also really light – just 135g – and have fully-sealable drip-proof lid.
They are even dishwasher safe!

At Oxfam, we sell Ecoffee’s three best-selling designs!




Helen Fielding is awarded an honorary degree from the University of York

On July 13th the creator of the unforgettable Bridget Jones was awarded an honorary degree at The University of York.

2In a survey conducted by The Guardian, Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century, and its author has often been credited with establishing the literary genre now known as “chicklit”, one of the most successful genre in today’s fiction industry.

Helen Fielding.jpg

Born in Morley, West Yorkshire, in 1958, the author and screenwriter attended Wakefield Girls’ High School before studying English at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Working as a BBC Regional Researcher in 1979, she wrote and produced documentaries in Africa for Comic Relief fundraising broadcasts, and in 1989 was involved in a documentary about the South Sudan War, forming the basis for her first novel Cause Celeb (1994).

She was later approached by The Independent to write a column as herself about single life in London. Fielding created instead the exaggerated and comic character that was to make her famous. The column was only a way to finance another novel about a fictional country in Africa, but when the people started praising the column, her identity was revealed and her publishers asked her to set aside her novel in progress to publish a novel on Bridget Jones instead.

Bridget jones

The novel was based on an outline of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and even features a Mr Darcy, as all readers have noticed.

pride-prejudice-book-1           Persuasion-by-Jane-Austen

Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (based on the outline of Jane Austen’s Persuasionwere published in 40 countries and sold more than 15 million copies. Their film adaptations, with Fielding on the scriptwriting team, achieved worldwide success and a third Bridget Jones novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was published in 2013.

A third film, Bridget Jones’s Baby – based on Helen’s 2006 columns in The Independent and bridging the gap between the second and the third Bridget Jones novels – is scheduled for release in September 2016. A book will also accompany the film!


Upon receiving her degree, the new Doctor honoris causa said: “This means a lot to me because I, and Bridget Jones I suppose, grew up in Yorkshire. My values were formed here in Yorkshire. And also some areas of myself – which are happily concealed beneath these lovely robes – which are made up of Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, various large based desserts and cakes from Betty’s café.”


For Helen Fielding, Yorkshire’s values are, amongst other things, about “bringing things down to earth with a laugh, and a sense that nothing, and no one, is perfect.”

She added in a quite moving second half of her speech: “we’re all human and flawed and we’re all able to laugh at ourselves. One of the tricks to being successful in life is knowing how to fail and get up again. As long as we all keep our sense of humour about ourselves, then we’ll all be alright.” Those words seem to sum up Bridget Jones’ message to us.


Watch the video of Helen Fielding’s receiving her honorary degree.

So why don’t you come and get your own copy of one of Helen Fielding’s novels at our shop?




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