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Charity Shops

British Red Cross shop

22 Hall St, Campbeltown PA28 6BU, UK – 01586 553894

There are only two factors that I consider when reviewing a charity shop - prices and service. For these two factors, with regard to this particular shop, I can find no fault. I visited this shop in Campbeltown just a month ago and found the prices to be fair and the service friendly. You really can't ask for much better. With non-charity shops I also consider a range of other factors, including layout, accessibility, payment options, range of stock and speed of service. What surprised me about this shop is that it would still have received at least a four star review from me if I considered these other factors. With regard to layout, many charity shops are cluttered with little space to move. That's not their fault. Charity shops cannot afford to hire professionals to optimise the layout of stores and thus they are seldom organised as efficiently as they could be. However, while the layout of this shop was not perfect, it was well organised, tidy and the vast majority of the stock was easily visible. Many charity shops have an issue with accessibility. They cannot afford premium positions on the high street with parking close by and so often customers have to hike to their front door. In the case of this shop, I was able to park quickly and easily right outside the door. As for payment options, like most Red Cross shops there was no issue with using a credit card and I think this is particularly important as I was unable to find an ATM nearby. The range of stock left a little to be desired, but that's not the fault of the shop. Charity shops rely on donations and if you don't get the goods in, you don't have them to sell. I was a little disappointed by the range of jewellery available, with much of it low quality costume, but with most other lines there was a decent selection available. The one and only criticism I could level at the shop is that the service was a little slow. The volunteers working that day were busy engaged in a conversation when I arrived at the counter and the lady who served me struggled with the till. However, they were volunteers who gave their time to keep the shop running so I can't hold it against them and what they lacked in speed they more than made up for in attitude. The ladies I encountered were friendly and helpful, not just with regard to the service, but also providing me with directions to the nearest post office. Overall, it's a great little shop, the prices are realistic and the atmosphere is welcoming. I've had some bad experiences in Red Cross shops in the past, but this one is a gem.

RNLI Campbeltown Lifeboat Station

The Captain Ian Weir Crawford Boathouse, Campbeltown PA28 6ED, UK – 01586 552414

Of all the RNLI stations I have visited, this is my favourite. Not just because I'm from Campbeltown, originally, or that my nephew Stephen is the cox'n of the Campbeltown boat. Certainly not just because H and I were invited out on a 'burn-up' (a training night) and were allowed to take the tiller (H got to go faster than me). None of the above. It's because I have the highest possible regard for the men and women who put their lives on the line to save souls at sea. I know many of the Campbeltown crew and auxiliary staff - heroes all.

During a short holiday in Campletown, I dropped by the RNLI office in the harbour and had a chat with the onsite officer. I was very impressed with the RNLI operation in Campletown, they are very professional and very dedicated to saving people at sea, we should be very proud of the service they give us and not take it for granted.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Old Quay, Campbeltown PA28 6ED, UK – 01586 552414

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