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Oxfam Bookshop, Petergate York

This is the blog for the Oxfam Book Shop on Low Petergate in York

Introducing Kate

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Kate works as a lawyer by day, and helps us out as a Volunteer Shop Assistant in her free time. Think you could do what Kate does? We’re always looking for new volunteers!

What does being a volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?

Working with books is something I’ve wanted to do since I was an enthusiastic member of the Puffin Club… And the slightly smug factor of doing good.

What is the most enjoyable part of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?

Finding new authors, new titles (i.e. ones I haven’t read) and helping customers explore the shop.

How would you describe your Volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?

Great time out from my employed work (I’m a lawyer – legal aid – and it’s knackering).

 

 

Introducing Sam

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Sam works with us as a Volunteer Online Sales Assistant, and was kind enough to chat with us for a bit.

What does being a volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?

Working for a group and with people I like, doing work I enjoy and have an active interest in.

What is the most enjoyable part of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?

Expanding my reading horizons with new authors and series, gaining new knowledge and insight from what I read and what I do in my role.

What surprised you most when you became a volunteer with Oxfam?

How small things can change the value of a book; a certain edition, illustrator or special collection edition can be worth much more than another copy of the same work.

How would you describe your Volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?

Fun, interesting and enjoyable working online for Oxfam.

Stuck for Father’s Day gifts this weekend? We’re here to help.

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Still not sure what to get for Father’s Day? With only two days to go, visiting Oxfam Books Petergate may hold the solution. In addition to our great range of books (we’d particularly recommend the humour section for this occasion), we’ve also stocked a number of cards – all in the new window display, in case you wondering.

If your Dad’s tired of books, then we’ve also got Charity Gifts available, whereby the proceeds go directly to those who need it most. These can vary from a simple bar of soap for £5, all the way up to providing clean drinking water for 500 people at £500. Come visit us in store to have a browse (we’re open on Sundays until 4pm!) or purchase directly from Oxfam’s website here. And yes, you can really buy your Dad a goat.

 

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Introducing Holly

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Though National Volunteers’ Week is officially over, we’re still incredibly grateful for all the hard work all our volunteers put in. Since we were given so many great responses last week, we’ll continue to intersperse volunteer profiles with regular blog posts. This week, we spoke to Holly about her dual role as a Volunteer Online Sales Assistant and Volunteer Shop Assistant.

 

What does being a volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?

For me, being a volunteer at Oxfam means being helpful, hard-working, creative and both team-spirited and independent in order to help those suffering from poverty and to deliver the best bookshop experience to customers.

What is the most enjoyable part of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?

I most enjoy working on the shop floor and speaking to customers about books, as well as browsing through the books myself.  I always spot exciting new additions to our stock when I come in.

What surprised you most when you became a volunteer at Oxfam?

I was surprised by the value of some of the books.  A book on Joyce’s Ulysses turned out to be worth £1000!  I was expecting to be dealing in very cheap things.  The generosity of some people is wonderful.

How would you describe your volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?

I process online orders, price books, work behind the till, tidy the shop floor, and in all, endeavour to do everything I’m asked to.  It is always an interesting, educational experience.

National Volunteers’ Week: Introducing Emily

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Emily is the Volunteer Online Photographer for Oxfam Books Petergate. You can see the fruits of her work (and exclusive books and games you can’t find in the shop) by checking out our online sales. Either press the ‘shop now’ button on our Facebook page, or follow our tiny url at tinyurl.com/oxfamonlinepetergate or click here.

 

What is the most enjoyable part of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?

Spending time with so many like-minded people, often of a similar age to me (students and recent graduates). I get on well with the people I volunteer alongside every week, and also attend regular shop meetings, which allow volunteers from different days or roles to meet and share their experiences. There’s always a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, but I still feel that I make a real difference with every shift.

 

What surprised you most when you became a volunteer with Oxfam?

I applied to volunteer at Petergate mainly to gain bookshop-related retail experience; however, there is a much wider range of tasks to help out with than I had realised. Over time I began to concentrate more on sorting and pricing donations than serving customers on the shop floor, and recently have been able to develop my photography skills by taking pictures for the Oxfam Online shop.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Volunteer Assistant Manager

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For this edition of our National Volunteers’ Week focus, we spoke to Joan (not pictured above), who’s our Volunteer Assistant Manager.

What does being a volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?

Before I retired, I used to be a regular visitor to the Oxfam bookshop in Petergate and  I often wished I had the spare time to respond to the requests for volunteers which I saw there. So once I stopped work it was a top priority to try and get involved and I have never regretted it. It has provided me with a most interesting, stimulating and worthwhile way of spending my extra free time.

What is the most enjoyable part of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?

As a lifelong bookworm the most enjoyable aspect for me is still the excitement of seeing what gets donated, giving the books some TLC to get them ready for sale and seeing  them get sold! Customers are often equally excited and grateful  for what they discover in the shop.

What surprised you most when you became a volunteer at Oxfam?

One thing which struck me when I started  was  the diversity of the volunteers in the shop. Meeting and working with such  a varied bunch (as well as the donors and customers) has been another big plus for me.

How would you describe your volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?

Overall I see my role as working with the shop manager and the rest of the team to make the best possible use for Oxfam of the donations we receive and the resources of the shop.

National Volunteers’ Week: Introducing Oli

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Continuing our focus on National Volunteers’ Week, we were lucky enough to interview Oli, whose day job is in IT, and volunteers with us as a shop assistant. If you think you’ve got what it takes to do what Oli does, we’d love to hear from you.

 

What does being a volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?

For me it means doing ‘your bit’ to make a difference. Individually we can’t change the world, but together Oxfam makes a big impact.
 

What is the most enjoyable part of working at Oxfam Books Petergate?

I enjoy working on the shop floor. Since I work in IT, the work at Oxfam is refreshingly different and I enjoy the contact with the public.

 

What surprised you most when you became a volunteer at Oxfam?

It was pretty much all I expected. Sorry for the dull answer!

 

How would you describe your volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?

I’m a generalist, so I work on the shop floor, process donations, and price books.

National Volunteers’ Week!

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In order to celebrate our amazing volunteers this National Volunteers’ Week, we’re shining a spotlight on the profiles of our volunteers at the Petergate shop. From volunteer online photographer all the way up to volunteer assistant manager, there are all sorts of roles available – it’s not all just working on the shop floor. We’ll put a link to download an application form for our volunteer roles here , just in case you get inspired.

First up is Isabel (featured above), who joined us a year and a half ago as a volunteer shop assistant, and, rather generously, answered a few of our questions.

 

What does being a Volunteer at Oxfam mean to you?

When I first started volunteering a year and a half ago, I was unemployed, lonely and depressed and going to volunteer at Oxfam once a week gave me a purpose and something to get out of bed for. There was some people who counted on me and that needed me. I was being useful! I’ve also always wanted to do something for a charity and I find the work that Oxfam does is admirable. It corresponds to my vision of how to make the world a better place. Empowering women, giving everyone access to clean water and other poverty relief actions and campaigns are the most important things to move forward in my opinion.

Volunteering in the Oxfam shop also meant that I could be around people whether it was the customers or the other volunteers and when you’re unemployed in a town where you don’t have many friends it means a lot. It also boosted my self-confidence so much and gave me some work experience so that I was eventually able to find a job. I learnt a lot of things about retail, about books, about charity work and about social media during my time volunteering here.

 

What is the most enjoyable par of working at Oxfam Books Petergate? 

The people! I’ve met so many lovely volunteers here and I also really get on with the manager. Seeing all those friendly faces and chatting while we do the work is one of the reasons volunteering here is so great.

 

What surprised you most when you became volunteer with Oxfam?

I had not realised the impact the charity shops have. We really do raise a nice amount of money for Oxfam! The work we do here does have an impact, we are making a difference! And that makes me really happy, that I can help causes which I care about.

 

How would you describe your Volunteer role at Oxfam in one sentence?

Volunteering at Oxfam means helping myself and helping others!

 

Our New Found in Books Display!

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You really would be amazed by the sorts of things we find in old donated books. They sadly don’t get much of a look in usually, but our wonderful volunteers have made this new window display to celebrate the intriguing odds and ends one can find while browsing.

There are notes, long expired invitations events and bookmarks of all varieties. Why not tell us the most unusual thing you’ve found in a book lately?

P.S. If anything in the window catches your eye, have a chat with our volunteers inside and, as fond as we are of our display, we might be able to make it yours for a small donation.

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