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OXFAM bookshop in Hereford celebrates a successful first decade with manager Jan Gilbert at the helm.

“I hadn’t planned it, I didn’t know where I was going when I started,” she says.

Managing 35 shop volunteers is a key part of Jan’s role.

“Everybody has a specialism, either front of house on the till,” she says, “or managing a specific section, whether it’s art, history or biography.

“Whereas there used to be a typical perception of what a volunteer looked like, now people work longer and not all volunteers are retired. We have gap students, Duke of Edinburgh students, college students and parents returning to the workplace after a break. People like the social side of a shop and obviously some simply want to volunteer for Oxfam.”

Among the most memorable finds in the sorting area have been one gentleman’s entire lifetime’s library, which he donated in his will and which comprised around 60 storage boxes of really nice books and some rarities.

“Many moons ago, from a source I was unaware of – pre-giftaid – we had several books turning up on the shelves with the name Rackham in them. Eventually I pieced the collection together and realised that we must have been donated the tail-end of a sale of stock within the Rackham family collection – one of which was a map showing lighthouses of Great Britain which raised £600 at an auction house.”

The public can give a book a new lease of life by donating it to Oxfam bookshop on Broad Street in Hereford as long as its condition is good. The shop is also keen to receive vinyl.

“If your old record collection is in the attic making a ceiling sag, bring it in!” Jan says.

The shop now sells new items including the popular Faith in Nature shampoos and conditioners, Fairtrade coffees and a range of chocolate items.

“We’ve even got toilet rolls!” Jan says.

When asked why she thinks the Oxfam bookshop in Hereford has succeeded Jan says, “We work hard to rotate the stock regularly and keep a wide-ranging, interesting stock. Staff enjoy it here and that creates a welcoming atmosphere.”

The window is changed a minimum of once a fortnight and will often tie in with an event or contemporary theme with a different category of books on display each time.

“Although each Oxfam is part of the national chain we are allowed to be who we are, each Oxfam has its own personality rather than a homogenous entity.

“We are a very successful shop.”