A BRIGHTON charity shop has been named one of the UK’s best by fashion bible Vogue. Reporter Harry Bullmore went to check it out...

WORKERS at a charity shop were shocked and delighted to find it named by Britain’s most fashionable magazine as one of the best second-hand stores in the UK.

Style-savvy staff at Friends Of Brighton And Hove Hospital in St James’s Street, Brighton, knew nothing about the recommendation until an eagle-eyed colleague spotted the Vogue article circulating on social media.

It is called Britain’s Best Charity Shops For Finding Pre-Loved Treasure.

“They only named about 20 shops, so to be a part of the list is a real accolade,” said Jack Lynn, 30, one of the management team. “I was quite surprised when I saw it, but delighted.”

The store was set up in 1998 by a team of volunteers, making it one of the first shops of its kind in the city. It recently underwent a transformation and welcomed a new management team which has helped it go from strength to strength.

And when The Argus visited the store the staff’s passion for their work was clear.

Jack said: “I find it very exciting when a bag of donations comes in, it’s like Christmas. You never know what you are going to find. Pretty much everything I wear is from charity shops, you find amazing things. I think that’s what is so great about shopping in second-hand stores, it pushes you to wear clothes you might not normally wear otherwise. You might see something and thing, ‘wow, I never would have thought to wear that’.

“And it’s obviously great to raise money for such a good cause.”

Profits from the store are used to support healthcare services across the city, being pumped straight into funding vital facilities for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.

And, with some of the items they have seen come into their store, profits have not been hard to come by.

Suzy Horne, an administrator for the charity, said a collection of Thomas Hardy books had been sold for about £150.

A 1980s Hermes silk scarf estimated to be worth hundreds of pounds was also donated and the store has developed a keen crowd for the varied range of vintage football shirts which pass through its doors.

The staff really know their stuff and when something special comes in they are quick to research possible price points “while always looking to keep things affordable”.

This was evident when The Argus visited. We were able to pick up an entire outfit – including red corduroy trousers from Gap, an H&M shirt and a Ralph Lauren jacket – for £20.

Suzy said: “Volunteers have a role of looking up the items and seeing the value, as well as checking if they are damaged. When new stuff comes in we sort it out in the back room and steam it.

“If we get anything retro or vintage, we have a rail for it. Then if anything unusual or more high brand is donated we will look it up online. That’s something that has come in during the last few years. But we always try and keep prices low.

“When volunteers started the store in 1998 they wouldn’t have had that but to prosper today, especially in a street like this where there are a lot of charity shops, you have to do your research.”

Joss Sullivan is a new shop assistant and said he really enjoyed working at the store.

The 21-year-old said: “We have customers who have had experiences with the hospital nearby, you can see the effects of the charity here, it all stays local.

"You have regulars come into the store, it’s a really relaxed atmosphere but it is very social as well. You are not always stressing but there is always something to do.”

The store was one of two in the city to be recommended by Vogue’s editorial co-ordinator Soey Kim in the article.

She said: “We say, the messier the charity shop, the better the haul.

"Dig through the overflowing rails at The Friends Of Brighton And Hove Hospital shop, which supports healthcare services across Brighton, and you’re bound to stumble across a gem or three.”

The Alala charity shop in Baker Street also made the list. Miss Kim said: “Tucked away from the bustling city centre is Alala (All for Love And Love For All), which supports children orphaned by natural disasters.

"Determined shoppers will be able to source designer finds lurking in the vast jumble of goodies inside.”