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The RACDV Charity Shop at Meeting Point II premises, 37 High Street, Swanley, is situated in a low prime High Street retail area, and has reasonable prominence with a shop window and less obvious shop / customer access directly off the High Street via a shared entrance with the Sevenoaks District Council local office. We are able to use rear rooms for storage.
The Shop, one of three charity shops in Swanley, commenced in 1986 from an idea of the late Mrs Chitham, wife of our former President, and is staffed entirely by volunteers. It is open for sales from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Expansion is desirable to five / six day opening and to longer opening hours per day. This would help to increase sales, to reduce RACDV dependency on Social Services, to reduce the current customer uncertainty and / or frustration of irregular opening times, and to relieve demands on administrative office staff located immediately behind the shop.
The shop is part of the Meeting Point II premises held on a seven year licence from Sevenoaks District Council on the much needed rate of £50 per annum. Overhead costs of less than 1% are the lowest of any charity shop in the area, maximising the net amount raised for RACDV of, in 2001 / 2002 £10,000 per annum, around 48% of total RACDV fund-raising and around 9% of current annual expenditure, creating a small element of financial independence. Unsaleable clothing and footwear is sold at 75p per bag to wholesale merchants. No VAT or Corporation Tax is paid.
Only second hand donated goods are sold. A regular supply of donated goods is required, which are sold at the lowest prices of any local charity shop for the benefit of elderly and other customers. Elderly or disabled customers in dire need are supplied at lower or no cost to them.
Apart from Gravesend Age Concern which has a shop located in its Day Centre in a non-retail area, RACDV has the only charity shop of the local groups, and the only High Street location. Apart from the benefit of retail sales, the shop assists in promoting our presence, and brings people in for advice / assistance who may not otherwise have done so. Contents Insurance cover is held, which cover Public and Personal Liability, Personal Accident and Money.
Office staff supply administrative, banking and physical assistance. The organiser often uses his private panel van for collections and / or deliveries.
The Shop is, at intervals, checked by Kent County Council Trading Standards Department and has always been found acceptable. The Shop occasionally takes stalls at local fetes and other fund-raising ventures, and organises an annual and busy Christmas Bazaar.
Large or furniture items offered to the Shop when no storage space is available, are passed on to Respond, a charity assisting the poor and needy, which sometimes supplies us on request with items for needy clients.
The Shop is organised by Volunteer Manager Mrs P. Doyle. Typically each volunteer helper works around 5 hours on one day per week, giving 2 / 3 helpers each day of opening, although any assistance is more than welcome.
See also: Charity Shop.