Letter: Good value from charity shops

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Sir: In response to Jane Jakeman's gripe about charity shops (19 July), I do not "help" in one of these shops, but am a member of a group, some of whom do work in one.

They are not well-dressed ladies dispensing unctuous patronage, but ordinary people who grew up in the depressed years between the two world wars and know all about hard times without the benefit of the welfare state and charity shops, only straight cold charity from the church jumble bag or similar.

They do not all have much money but willingly give time and effort to sort, wash and mend where necessary to provide for less fortunate people who can maintain their pride by buying, not begging clothes. Far from being "bumbling old incompetents" we organise coffee mornings, lunches for up to 100 members, as well as outings, etc.

As for spotting shoplifters, they are much more alert than many bored shop assistants, too busy chatting or admiring themselves to serve customers.

Yours faithfully,

Joan Sene