Author Archives: Gill Perkins

Gill Perkins

About Gill Perkins

Self confessed Charity Shop junkie, I've been running Wandsworth Oasis Charity Shops for approximately 5 years and we're going from strength to strength. We are the only charity shops in London that support local people with HIV and that play a role in the HIV prevention agenda. Proud to announce that we have just won a national award for innovation in charity retail... We play a role in the local community by converting other people's clutter into cash for vulnerable and keeping it out of landfill. We also run a volunteer programme that gives people a second chance at making their way in society. We can sell almost anything and are always grateful for your unwanted items - furniture, books, clothing and accessories, music, homeware, etc. We are happy to collect in the local area.


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BNI member charity wins prestigious national award

The Charity Retail Association has recognised BNI Nightingale member local HIV charity Wandsworth Oasis with the “Innovation in Charity Retailing” award.

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The prize was handed out at the Charity Retail Conference last week where over 140 shops from across the country were represented.

Gill Perkins, CEO of Wandsworth Oasis, said: “As a small local charity it is a big deal to have won a national award, particularly one for Innovation in Charity Retailing, We are thrilled! It’s a real tribute to the hard work of the staff and volunteers at our Amen Corner shop in Tooting and we’d like to say a big thank you to all the local residents and businesses who have supported our events.”

The Wandsworth Oasis store in Amen Corner, Tooting which opened in September last year is 4,000 square metres, the largest out of 6 shops across the borough and with so much space Gill and her team have been using it in a variety of ways to bring the community together in a series of events.

It all began with the Upfest Fashion Show a month after the store opened celebrating the recycling and reuse of clothing donations, a Lebanese evening followed where the shop was turned into a souk then a wine tasting night and local artists exhibition. These are just some of the events which have transformed the shop into a exciting place for the community to come together.

An urban regeneration project funded by Art’s Council England, called The Streets is returning to Amen Corner this year after a hugely successful weekend in 2015 when Jazz music was played inside the store.  Sales were up 17% over the weekend of The Streets festival but the main benefit was to how many people who had never visited the shop before, came back to shop and donate.

Gill Perkins was asked to present her innovative ideas to the Charity Retail Conference and a group of shops in Northern Ireland will be visiting the Oasis stores later this year to learn how Wandsworth Oasis achieves such success.

Oasis laptopI recently came to the decision that it was time to upgrade my 10 year old laptop that was running Windows Vista, weighed a ton and kept breaking down.  I did some research myself on new laptops largely based on weight and sent the models to Mo who advised which would be fit for my purposes (and also recommended buying through the Utility Warehouse cash back programme which I hadn’t even thought of).

My laptop arrived.  Usually I am pretty good at installing and setting up programmes etc but despite multiple attempts I could not get my wandsworth oasis email client to work.  My hosting service was unable to help me for several days as it was a Bank Holiday.  I was also based in Stratford upon Avon where we have no mobile signal and no wifi in the office.  There is nothing worse for a small business to be unconnected to email particularly when you are away.  I called Mo and he immediately agreed to assist.  He remotely guided me through setting up the wifi booster using Team Viewer and then started on the email set up.  The process was far from simple because, as it turned out, there were bugs in the software – Office 2016 – that I had just purchased which had to be uncovered, but Mo fixed it.  He was patient, tenacious and explored every angle until he found a solution.

This was a small job for Mo, but his customer focussed approach and attention to detail with humour and care is testimony to how he would deal with a larger project.  I would recommend Wimbledon IT to anyone with an IT/Phone issue.

Thank you Mo.

Testimonial for Alan Failing (Sycamore Signs)

I engaged Alan from Sycamore Signs to update the signage on one of our existing charity shops and on a new shop.  He provided a competitively priced quote which we decided to accept.  Alan was a true professional throughout the process from design to installation and also incredibly patient.  He sent through a proof of the artwork for me to approve and, in retrospect, I clearly didn’t look at it properly.  I realised once the signs were installed that a) one of the shop phone numbers was incorrect and b) the charity number was incorrect.  With my tail between my legs, I plucked up the courage to advise Alan of my error.  He couldn’t have been nicer – he said it was no big deal and immediately arranged for the correct information to be put on the sign (free of charge).  The shops all look wonderful.

Signage ability aside, Alan is also a lovely guy who has been very supportive of me and my efforts to raise the profile of Wandsworth Oasis and make money for people living with HIV in Wandsworth. On a personal and professional basis, I would not hesitate to recommend Alan to anybody who needs anything with a logo on it.

If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on 07970 349740 or gill@wandsworthoasis.org.uk

Yours faithfully

Gill Perkins

Chief Executive & Company Secretary