East Riding College student, Olivia, also works as a Sales Assistant at one of Beverley’s newest charity shops, the RSPCA in Butcher Row. The shop opened in February, in a prime spot, with the aim of raising funds for the RSPCA facility in Clough Road, Hull. It costs £1100 per day to operate Clough Road, rescuing animals in need and looking after the ones already there, hoping to find new homes.
But Clough Road, which was opened in 1938, is in need of a complete rebuild as the facilities are not fit for purpose anymore; it is in danger of being closed down. The rebuild will cost £1m. With no government or lottery funding, the £1m must be raised locally - which is where Olivia comes in. She has made it her business to build awareness of the RSPCA’s work, the charity shop and how everyone can help maintain their vital service.
The shop in Butcher Road has a boutique-y feel with good quality men’s and women’s clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, bric-a-brac, books, CDs and DVDs. They are always looking for good quality donations of any of the above. Additionally, they are also looking for children’s clothes and homewares such as bed-linen and curtains. However, although only good-quality books and clothes are sold in the shop, they are most grateful for any books and textiles, not matter what the quality.
Olivia said: “Poor-quality books and textiles are ragged and sold on for recycling. However, textiles can also be used at Clough Road to make the animals more comfortable. Blankets, towels, sheets and pillows are all gratefully accepted, as are cleaning materials and tins of cat and dog food. In fact, the only things we can’t accept are large household appliances and furniture. Got a heater you don’t want? We will have it checked and use it to keep sick animals warm.”
Olivia has a passion for animals (she has a cocker spaniel, Scooter, and a shitzu, Archie) which is matched by her love of the people with whom she works and who she meets on a day-to-day basis. She said: “Not many people my age would even think of working in a charity shop! But it is so rewarding in that I not only help the animals but can provide a service to the people who come in. And yes, I have found some bargains here myself!”
Olivia, despite having health issues which have caused her to take time out of school, has either volunteered or had some kind of a job since the age of 13. She has worked in hairdressing salons and at a deli as well as at the RSPCA, at the same time as studying. As she says, this has given her a real understanding of the value of money. It has also kindled her passion for increasing the awareness of the discrimination suffered by people living with disability. Olivia has grown up with a family member who has Down’s Syndrome who is actively discriminated against, something which mortifies Olivia, so much so that she is on the Equality and Diversity Committee at East Riding College.
Olivia is clearly one of those people who, when she sees something is wrong, does something about it. She could be a future MP, perhaps? If you could help our RSPCA in any way, Olivia and all who love animals would be very grateful. They will even pick up donations if you aren’t able to get them to the shop yourself. Just give them a call on 01482 872924.
Pop into the shop at 8, Butcher Row, Beverley, HU17 0AB and check out their website: www.rspca.org.uk/ local/hull-and-east-riding-branch. If you aren’t able to look after a pet yourself, you could even sponsor an animal pen! Olivia and her colleagues would be delighted to chat through the options.