A purr-fect way to work and support a cat charity

Shop manager Lesley Fishleigh
Shop manager Lesley Fishleigh
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Loving felines is a big requisite for working at the Cats Protection charity shop in Penwortham.

A total of 20 volunteers and two paid staff help with all aspects within the shop, in Liverpool Road.

Shop volunteer Janice Vaughan

Shop volunteer Janice Vaughan

Their passion to boost funds for Cats Protection shines through as they ensure the store is perfect for customers.

Showing affection for cats knows no prejudice, with volunteers from the age of 14 upwards, as they are keen to protect the welfare of felines.

Lesley Fishleigh, shop manager, says: “The feedback from the younger volunteers in particular is that they all really enjoy the volunteering.

“I really see an increase in their confidence levels.

Volunteer Karen Harvey

Volunteer Karen Harvey

“For the wider volunteer team they like the fact there are all ages of volunteers working together and bringing different experiences and skills.”

A happy workforce creates a productive work ethic and, to sustain an upbeat interest, Lesley has created fun names for roles within the shop.

She adds: “We have the role of Love to Tidy, as volunteers keep the shop and stockroom organised clean and tidy.

“Flair for Fashion means volunteers assist with sorting, selecting, steaming, sizing and pricing the best clothes for sale from donated stock. They also help out with merchandising the clothes on the shop floor and create eye-catching displays to entice shoppers into the store.

Photo Neil Cross'Workplace -'Cats Protection - Penwortham charity shop'Volunteer Joyce Randall

Photo Neil Cross'Workplace -'Cats Protection - Penwortham charity shop'Volunteer Joyce Randall

“Bookworm volunteers assist with identifying and valuing saleable books from donated stock, spending most of their time sorting, pricing and displaying books.

“Shop Assistant volunteers assist with the day to day running of the shop by serving customers and 
arranging and replenishing stock.

“Customer care is the main focus of this role, working with other volunteers to create a friendly atmosphere in the shop; welcoming customers and donors; and promoting the work of the charity.”

The store has taken the Preston branch two years to establish, opening its doors to the public on the evening of the Penwortham Christmas Market on December 14 last year. 

Lesley adds: “Customers continue to praise the shop daily on its layout, presentation, window and internal displays, selection and quality of stock and the feeling of being in a quality high street retail store. 

“Our customers come from near and far. They may or may not be cat lovers. Often they may just be passers-by on the Liverpool Road, either by car or on foot and are drawn in by the attractive visual impact of the shop windows.  We already have our regular customers who pop in once or twice a week – some come in to see us on a daily basis as they know we replenish our stock on a daily basis and are keen to pick up a bargain.”

Janice Vaughn has been a volunteer with the charity since the 1990s. As a cat welfare officer, she rehomes cats when they come in.

She says: “I volunteer a few days a week at the shop. A few people who have taken in our cats come into the shop, so it is nice to have a chat about how they are getting on and I offer advice.”

All funds raised by the shop help support the work of the Preston Cats Protection branch to rescue and rehome stray and abandoned cats and kittens.

Lesley adds: “Last year, the Preston branch helped approximately 2,900 cats, most of which needed veterinary attention of some kind.

“Our bill for vet care, food, litter and transport for the year was approximately £1,000 per week, raised by our members through fund-raising events.

“We helped with neutering costs for more than 2,000 cats, including many feral cats who had to be trapped before neutering, and cared for afterwards.

“Most of those ferals
went back to their original home. We rehomed more than 200 cats last year and we hope to home even more this year.”