“Giving people” of Diss thanked as Oxfam prepares to celebrate 30 years in the town

Shirley Sayer, Edna Barnes and Lyn Kay pictured in the Diss Express in the September 12, 1986 edition. The Oxfam shop had opened in Mere Street a week previous. ANL-160109-092832001

Shirley Sayer, Edna Barnes and Lyn Kay pictured in the Diss Express in the September 12, 1986 edition. The Oxfam shop had opened in Mere Street a week previous. ANL-160109-092832001

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The Diss community has been praised for its loyal support as a charity shop prepares to celebrate 30 years in the town.

Now situated on Market Hill, the Oxfam charity shop began its life in the town in Mere Street, in the building now occupied by Specsavers.

Oxfam in Diss is appealing for more volunteers in the wake of Sunday openings in the run up to Christmas.  Pictured: Derek Bestford, Val Major, Ben Carroll, Jackie Woods and Zo� Rimmer ANL-151118-162845009

Oxfam in Diss is appealing for more volunteers in the wake of Sunday openings in the run up to Christmas. Pictured: Derek Bestford, Val Major, Ben Carroll, Jackie Woods and Zo� Rimmer ANL-151118-162845009

Opening its doors on September 5, 1986, it was the only charity shop in the town at that time. And on July 26, 2006, the branch moved to a bigger premises, its current home on Market Hill.

The 30 year milestone will be celebrated with two open days on Friday and Saturday, September 9-10, running from 9am to 5pm, with tea coffee and cakes on offer, while three volunteers who have been at the store since its opening will be there on the day.

Lyn Kay, who lives in The Heywood, said she had always been a supporter of the charity, while her aunt ran an Oxfam store in Lancashire. She began her stint as a volunteer when the shop first opened in 1986, and said she was pleased to have played a small part in helping to reduce poverty across the world.

“It’s been a very enjoyable experience, I’ve loved it,” she said. “Some very good friendships have grown through the volunteers.

Customers, volunteers and donators all three of them are contributing to our charity and we are really lucky in Diss that we have got very loyal and very giving people

Ben Carroll

“We thought the milestone ought to be marked.

“Health and age permitting, I will carry on. I’ve done a Tuesday afternoon ever since I’ve started and it’s in the diary, nothing else happens on a Tuesday apart from Oxfam in the afternoon.

“I think moving to Market Hill did benefit us. It’s a much bigger shop with a much bigger sorting area.”

The shop is still on the lookout for volunteers.

Oxfam volunteers in Diss pictured outside their new store on Market Hill in July 2006, moving from Mere Street. This appeared in the Diss Express on July 27, 2006. ANL-160109-092803001

Oxfam volunteers in Diss pictured outside their new store on Market Hill in July 2006, moving from Mere Street. This appeared in the Diss Express on July 27, 2006. ANL-160109-092803001

“I’ve enjoyed it and if they come and volunteer, there are so many different jobs,” she explained. “You don’t have to be on the till, there are sorting jobs, there are so many jobs we cater for.

“It’s good for the CV and work experience. A lot of youngsters come and do the Duke of Edinburgh award here and that sets them up and they often come back in school holiday time to volunteer.”

Ben Carroll, who took over as manager of the store at the start of 2015, praised the support from the town over the years.

He said local shops for Oxfam were “vastly important” to the charity.

“This shop does really well because we have built up a really good and loyal customer base, and we have grown that. So now it’s the Oxfams in places such as this, in smaller market towns, if they can built up that customer base, are big contributors to Oxfam.

“Customers, volunteers and donators all three of them are contributing to our charity and we are really lucky in Diss that we have got very loyal and very giving people.”

If you would like to volunteer at the Oxfam shop, visit the store on Market Hill, call 01379 644871 or email bencarroll1@oxfam.org.uk