Rothesay charity shop continues to spread its Christmas message on Bute

Volunteers at the Bute Oasis charity shop and foodbank.
Volunteers at the Bute Oasis charity shop and foodbank.

Rothesay foodbank and charity shop Bute Oasis is spreading Christmas cheer for the fifth year in a row, giving out 100 hampers to local families.

Since opening five years ago the Argyle Street shop has allocated 4000 food parcels and raised £130,000 for charity.

Founder Angela Callaghan explained that Christmas was the most important time of the year for Bute Oasis.

She said: “First of all we are a foodbank, but at Christmas time we put out 100 Christmas hampers, with everything for making home made soup, then everything for Christmas dinner. We also put in mince pies, shortbread, tea bags. It’s a proper Christmas hamper. They go out to 100 vulnerable families on the island.

“The first year we did 50, but after that it went up to 100.

“It’s hard work. From June, when we do our foodbank shopping, we stock up with all the things that are non-perishable. Then in the last couple of months before Christmas we try to stock up the foodbank so it will keep running until January. Then we have enough for the Christmas hampers.

“Care Plus give us our selection boxes every year. They are amazing. This year they have also given us £500. It’s a real bonus having the businesses on the island helping us.

“We also put out a box for people to donate presents. We have got about 50 parcels for children. We try to get a sack for each family.

“Anything that comes into the shop brand new for a child we don’t put it out in the shop to sell it. We put it aside for Christmas because trying to get Christmas gifts for children is really hard work.

“Obviously at the time of year people hand in presents so it all adds up and helps.”

Angela is thankful for everyone that helps Bute Oasis.

She said: “The team that works in this shop are amazing. At the moment we have got about 17 volunteers. They put their heart and soul into this shop. I would also like to thank the community for all their support, and Bute Advice Centre, who do our paperwork.

“When I started this up I wrote a letter to the Buteman to say I had breast cancer and had to stop working. The letter helped me as when we opened on the Saturday morning the queue was along the street with people waiting to support us, bringing in things.

“This shop is all about our community and helping. It’s not just a foodbank. I’m just absolutely delighted with how it has went and how much we have helped. The place is basically for the community, run by the community, and we sell it back to the community.”