CHILDREN’S charity Barnardo’s is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its longest-established store in the West Midlands.
The store in Chelmsley Wood shopping centre was opened in 1983 and since then it has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support vulnerable children and young people across the UK.
In the last year alone, the team received more than 7,700 bags of donations from more than 3,150 supporters.
The team of staff and volunteers celebrated the anniversary by cutting a specially-decorated cake with a large ‘35’ on top on Tuesday (November 14).
Barnardo’s manager Robyn Phillips said: “We were amazed when we realised just how long the store has been fundraising for the charity.
“It’s a major milestone and we wanted to do something to mark the occasion and to thank all of our volunteers.
“We have a fantastic team aged from 20 years old up to 74 years old, and the longest-serving supporter has been with us for an astonishing 30 years!
“Over the last 12 months they’ve donated more than 2,400 hours of their own time to help with sorting the stock and serving the customers. Their dedication is unbelievable.
“They all work incredibly hard, but they’re very proud of what they do and we always have a laugh and a joke together.”
Robyn added: “No two days are ever the same and we never know what we’re going to find inside a bag of donations.
“We’ve received all sorts of items ranging from tins of dog food and a used toothbrush to Tiffany bracelets worth several hundred pounds.
“People offer whatever they can to help us and we wouldn’t be able to operate without their support.
“Thanks to all of our donors and customers, we’re able to raise much-needed funds to continue the charity’s life-changing work.”
Last year the charity supported 272,000 children, young people and families through more than a thousand services across the UK.
The Barnardo’s store is open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5pm and on Sunday from 10am-4pm.
The team always welcomes donations of good-quality clothes, books, toys, games, homeware and accessories, as well as offers of help from potential volunteers.