Within an hour of opening, two card designs (10 packs of each) had sold out at the charity Christmas card shop at the community centre on Conduit Hill. But with cards from 39 charities, and eight designs from each, there are still more than 300 designs to choose from.
Card sales are an essential source of income for the charities and they work hard to attract customers. Its not easy to pick a winning design so, when a trend develops, many will pick up on it. That’s why there are hares leaping about all over the shop this year. They might not be traditional but they were a sell out all over the country last Christmas.
The idea of charities getting together to sell cards began in 1959 when several health charities, led by the British Diabetic Association, decided to team up. Under the name Cards for Good Causes (CfGC), they are now the largest multi-charity Christmas card organisation in the UK. The member charities are boosted by “guests”, mostly local groups, which in Rye includes the local Air Ambulance, the Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital, The Oliver Curd Trust, SASBAH (Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus), Hi Kent (for the hard of hearing), the Romney Marsh Churches Historic Trust and, for the first time, the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. For those who want to support an animal charity, there’s the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
After costs of running the temporary shops are covered, at least 70p in every pound is guaranteed to go to the charities. The sale of wrapping paper, Advent calendars and candles, calendars, tea towels, candles, small gifts and gift tags, all helps to defray costs. It’s more than 20 years since the first multi-charity card shop opened in Rye. There have been a few gaps but this is the eleventh year that the current team has been in charge. The day-to-day running of the shop is done entirely by volunteers. They know the routine backwards and are always happy to welcome newcomers. Just ask at the till if you’d like to join the team.
This coming Saturday (November 11), Remembrance Day, the local Salvation Army Band will be playing at the shop. The band will announce the two-minute silence at 11am with the “Last Post”. Coffee, tea, biscuits and mince pies will be available for customers who’d like to enjoy the music.
Cards for Good Causes is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm, until December 16 at Rye Community Centre, Conduit Hill.
Photo: Jane Nunn