If you thought charity shops only sold second-hand clothes or old books and DVDs, it might just be time to think again.
That’s because Lynn’s Oxfam shop has launched a new range of artwork and collectables which have been created by its own volunteers.
And one of the team says the project has helped to restore his confidence after almost five years out of the workplace.
Paintings, brooches, jewellery, bags, bowls, trays and picture frames are among the items created by helpers at the Norfolk Street store, which went on display for the first time this week.
Manager Jane Haskins said she hoped the initiative, which she had seen at another Oxfam branch, would help to generate more interest in the charity and its shop, which has just been rebranded.
She said: “We’re trying to broaden the range we can offer and get more people in.”
Many of the products are made from donated goods, such as old records, which could not be sold because they were scratched and unplayable.
The process is known as upcycling, where an item is made into something new or of higher quality.
And Ms Haskins said: “We do like to upcycle as much as we can. I thought it was a really good idea to bring here.
“We want to show we can do something different, especially if people have stuff which isn’t in good condition. We can take it and upcycle it.”
Among the team who have created the new range is David Boldero, whose artistic talent was discovered by managers after he first offered his services as a volunteer earlier this year.
David has been unemployed for more than four years and has battled with anxiety and depression in that time.
He said he had only regarded art as a hobby until he began working at the shop earlier this year, initially in the vinyl section.
He said: “They found out I do a lot of art and they asked me to do a load of stuff for them.
“Coming here has really given me a boost and given me confidence. It’s nice to get back into the workplace.”
“I never would have got together some art to sell it. It’s always been something that I’ve done for myself
Ms Haskins said: “He says they’re like Banksy’s style, but I think they’re better than that.”
The scheme has also benefited from a link-up with Norfolk’s probation service, which has seen some defendants making items for the shop, as part of their unpaid work orders.
Goods can be donated at the shop during its opening hours of ??? to ???.
There are also donation points for books and music at the Tesco store on the Hardwick estate and clothes and shoes at the Sainsbury’s branch on Scania Way.
For more information, phone the shop on 01553 773400.