Friday, 25 June 2021

Henley Rotary Club meeting

THE work of the Oxfam books and music shop in Duke Street, Henley, was the subject

THE work of the Oxfam books and music shop in Duke Street, Henley, was the subject of a talk at the club’s twilight meeting held at Henley Golf Club on April 21.

Sabine Adams, who has been part-time manager of the shop for six years having started off as a volunteer, described how Oxfam was set up in 1942 to provide relief to civilians in Belgium and Greece.

The first charity shop had been set up in Oxford in 1948 by the legendary Joe Mitty.

The standard shop has been in Market Place, Henley, for many years and the books and music department was originally next door but moved to 14 Duke Street when the lease ran out.

There are 50 to 60 volunteers who run the shop, each with their own particular expertise, who work four-hour shifts.

Mrs Adams, who also works two days a week as a teacher at a primary school in Watlington, said the shop had generated more than £100,000 in profit in recent years, putting it in the top quartile of Oxfam bookshops in the country.

The profit was after taking into account her salary and paying a commercial rent as well as business rates.

Expanding on the work of Oxfam, Mrs Adams described the emergency action which had been taken in Syria, in ebola-affected areas and in the Philippines.

She emphasised that the charity was committed to finding a long-term solution for poverty and how it combined with the Disasters Emergency Committee on assisting in global crises.

Of particular interest was the ability for book donors to claim gift aid for the charity on the books they had given.

She explained that Oxfam encouraged donors to “tag” their packages with a gift aid label which assisted in the administration of this somewhat laborious procedure of reclaiming the tax.

Mrs Adams had brought along a number of books and records and in an informal gathering after the meeting challenged her audience to value them, an exercise which showed the professionalism needed.

The vote of thanks was given by Mark Harling, who commended Oxfam on its work, particularly in the area of UK poverty.

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