Feel-good shopping: how charity shops offer sustainable, ethical and fun retail therapy

By our guest blogger, Jenny Hall.

It’s a fairly safe bet to say that with nearly 50 locations around Bristol, those of us in and around the city walk past a St Peter’s Hospice shop pretty regularly. I know I do. Until I became involved in fundraising for the Hospice earlier this year though, I’ll admit that I was far from a regular visitor. I would smile at their quirky and creative window displays and occasionally pop in for a bit of fancy dress or some costume jewellery, but I was far from a seasoned charity shop browser.

Having taken part in 2016’s Bristol Strictly Come Dancing for the Hospice and seeing the work they do first hand, I developed a fondness and feeling of loyalty for the charity so began to dip my toe into second-hand fashion to lend my support in raising the £19,000 per day needed to keep the Hospice running. After scoring a Henry Holland unicorn top and unworn jumpers from Next and M&S in my first visit, I was a convert.

Charity finds: Henry Holland top and jumpers from Next and M&S

So besides the obvious benefits of raising much needed funds to allow organisations like the Hospice to continue their work, why should we be shopping in and donating to charity shops?

Environmental impact

First, let’s consider the environment impact. Clothing manufacture has one of the biggest footprints for production of waste and the consumption of carbon and water of any industry in the world. By extending the life of our clothing by just nine months we can reduce this footprint by 22%, equivalent to £5billion per year in the UK [1]. Even though we may be bored with the special dress we bought for that wedding last year, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t wear it until the seams pop. By donating we’re not just giving someone else the buzz of finding that amazing bargain but also saving the planet, and a tonne of money in the meantime.

30% of clothing hasn’t been worn for a year

Secondly, the average household contains over £4,000 worth of clothing, 30% of which hasn’t been worn for nearly a year mostly because it no longer fits [1]. We all have those jeans we can’t quite button up anymore despite hopping up and down like a loon. Instead of holding onto them and feeling depressed with each failed attempt, hand them over to a charity you love and let someone else give them a go. Imagine all that money locked up in our wardrobes which could be going somewhere worthwhile.

Robbing good causes of money

Nearly 50% of us have put some or all of this totally wearable yet unwanted clothing in the bin when we decide it’s time for a clear-out [1]. Not only are we creating trash from a garment which has the potential to become somebody else’s treasure, but we’re robbing good causes of money which could have found its way into their coffers, as well as throwing away the time, energy and resources which went into making that clothing in the first place.

So by sifting through our clothing and donating the things we no longer wear, it frees us up to get some lovely new stuff. Instead of heading to the high street, how about hitting the charity shops instead?

High street shopping

Finally, where’s the fun in high street shopping? Racks and rails of identical clothes in multiple sizes. This goes with that. If you get one of those, you really must get one of these to go with it. The result? We all end up looking the same because we’ve been so cleverly told what to buy. A charity shop is a different story. Hidden gems are waiting to be discovered, funky fabrics and contrasting colours are begging to be combined, and who doesn’t love the feeling of finding something gorgeous and unique, and realising it’s exactly your size.

Charity shops can give us a totally different shopping experience, providing a playground for a creative mind, charged with the thrill of potential discovery, all the while effortlessly enabling us to donate to our favourite charity whilst taking home a bargain to boot.

So why not have a clear out this weekend. Bag up your unwanted clothes and pop down to your local St Peter’s Hospice shop to give them a new lease of life. While you’re there, why not have a rummage. You never know, you may be able to breathe new life into an amazing and one-of-a-kind outfit.

St Peter’s Hospice has 50 shops across Bristol and beyond. Check out the website to find and support your local store.

[1] Valuing our Clothes by WRAP

The St Peter’s Hospice Shops Blog is written by Jenny Hall. Jenny, who has lived in Bristol for 12 years, has a love of fashion and costume and a strong affection for the Hospice. Earlier this year, Jenny won our Bristol Strictly Come Dancing 2016 competition with her dance partner, Cameron Milne.


Volunteers’ Week: Sally’s Story

This week is national Volunteers’ Week, and we are taking the opportunity to say a big *Thank You* to all of our amazing volunteers. We have over a thousand volunteers helping out at the Hospice, at events, in our shops and in and around the community.

To celebrate the work of our helpers, we are featuring a series of stories about our invaluable volunteers.

Sally’s Story

Why did you volunteer?

“I wanted to get out of the house, meet people and have something useful to do. My father was cared for in the Hospice 18 years’ ago and this motivated me to volunteer with St Peter’s Hospice.”

How have you benefited?

“Volunteering had made me feel useful. I’ve met a lot of people that I wouldn’t normally see – it’s great to engage with people. I have really enjoyed working in the shop and it’s also been good to look for bargains!”

What challenges have you faced?

“None really – I’ve just loved it so much right from the start.”

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?

“Do it! Volunteering is a great idea as it is so flexible and you don’t feel tied. It’s a great way to occupy yourself and feel useful.”

Find out more about volunteering

Hospice Podcast: November

This month, St Peter’s Hospice Podcast invited Rory Collins from our shop in Henleaze and Mandy Gibbs from our Westbury-on-Trym shop to discuss all things Christmas, including the special shopping events they are holding in their shops.

You can listen to the podcast below, or alternatively download it here.


Every month, our Podcast brings together Hospice stories, fundraising news and the latest trends in shopping and fashion.

You can listen to previous editions here

Autumn fashion hits the shops

With the last Summer days drawing in, our shops are starting to fill up with wonderful Autumn fashion.

This season, we’re venturing from the typical maroon palette to embrace the boldness of red and orange! Or, why not throw it back to the 70s and snap up some trendy flairs.

Find your nearest shop and bag a bargain today.



Nonesuch Cup Officially Opens

Nonesuch Cup, our first ever coffee shop, was officially opened this morning by Pat Hart and Sherrie Eugene Hart from One Love Breakfast and Made in Bristol TV.

The coffee shop is based next door to our Horfield shop at 313 Gloucester Road. As well as serving delicious drinks and tasty food, all the proceeds from Nonesuch Cup go towards supporting care in Bristol through St Peter’s Hospice.

With a secret courtyard garden out the back, Nonesuch Cup is the perfect place to relax after doing some shopping, or catch up with friends over a hot brew. With food and drink sourced from nearby locations such as Barrow Gurney, St Philips, Lodge Causeway and Bedminster, the coffee shop is committed to investing in the local community.

Find out more about Nonesuch Cup by visiting the website, or pop in to see what is on offer!


Yate Clearance Shop Opens

We’ve just opened a new Clearance Shop in Yate Shopping Centre!

With thousands of items priced at less than £5, it’s the perfect place to pick up a bargain.

Pop in to see what we have to offer:


  • T-shirts from £1
  • Tops from £2.50
  • Trousers from £2.50
  • Dresses from £3
  • CDs & Paperbacks from 50p

Summerwear has landed!

The sunshine is here, and so is our Summer collection, now in all 47 of our shops across Bristol and the surrounding area.

Summer is all about denim, and designers have been keen to put their stamp on everyone’s favourite fabric this season. Alternatively, you can keep it fun and frivolous in pastel shades and lace.

Our Summerwearwear is preloved, stylish and great value – with lines for women, men and kids. We also have plenty of accessories – you can snap up this season’s cutesy clutches, big bags and pretty purses, and put your best foot forward with espadrille wedges, kitten heels and skinny strap sandals.

Find your nearest shop


Springwear launches


Bring on the sunshine with our Spring collection, now in all 47 of our shops across Bristol and the surrounding area.

Hold on to your floppy hats, Spring is a melting pot of 70s throwbacks and glamour. Think bright, colourful and full of fun twists.

Our Springwear is preloved, stylish and great value – with lines for women, men and kids. We also have plenty of accessories – you can snap up this season’s cutesy clutches, big bags and pretty purses, and put your best foot forward with espadrille wedges, kitten heels and skinny strap sandals.

Find your nearest shop




Fashion students upcycle donations

A group of Bristol students has been given the chance to design their own clothes and learn the art of window dressing in a joint venture between Creative Youth Network and St Peter’s Hospice.

The Creative Careers scheme, run by the Kingswood-based charity Creative Youth Network, gives young people aged 16-25 the chance to get real hands-on experience within creative industries as well as earning a qualification. The latest course has focused on the fashion industry with participants learning about designing, styling, upcycling, stock management, visual merchandising and window dressing.

Using clothes donated to our shops that we were unable to sell, students upcycled their own garments with advice from Louisa Jones, owner of Dutty on Cheltenham Road. The results were some really unique and stylish outfits which the students have displayed in the windows of our shops in Westbury-on-Trym, Henleaze, Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Horfield and Ashton. Upcycling kindly donated garments is a great way to create new products and give our loyal customers the best value for money

For more information on Creative Youth Network visit

Shop Assistant in Top Model Final

A St Peter’s Hospice shop assistant has made it to the finals of a nationwide top model search, taking place in London this March.

Emily Ball, 21, from Chipping Sodbury, is used to sorting clothing donations and creating window displays at her job in our Yate shop. But now Emily will be modelling clothes herself as she takes part in the leading model search competition Top Model UK.

Having already competed against hundreds of girls for a place in the final, Emily will be judged in the Commercial category against 27 other models from across the country, at a glittering finale taking place at the Hilton Metropole, London on 13 March.

Emily said “it’s definitely going to be a bit of a change from my day job at the St Peter’s Hospice shop!”

Emily continued: “I love working at the Hospice shop as I’ve been really lucky to get some experience doing the visual merchandising, which I love. The managers have recognised my passion for styling and fashion and I’ve really enjoyed creating the window displays and putting outfits together. In a charity shop you can find some real hidden gems.”



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