The Farm Animal Sanctuary. 

The Farm Animal Sanctuary are holding the Freedom Fields Festival on 6-7 July.  There will be lots of music as well as Celebrity speakers, food and drink, children’s activities, shopping etc.  Attend as a day visitor or stay for the weekend and camp on site. 

Full details on the Farm Animal Sanctuary website.

They will be holding their more traditional fundraising weekend 14th & 15th September where I’m aiming to have a fund-raising stall for them on one of the days. 

They also have two ‘Sheepovers’ on the nights of 27 July and 24 August.  A great way for anyone new to camping or wanting to test out a new tent, to camp for one night, as well as anyone who just wants to spend time with the animals on the Sanctuary.

All the activities are to help raise the £944,000 needed to secure the site that The Farm Animal Sanctuary has been based at for many years. 

Link to Hope

The theme for June is items for elderly shoeboxes – the Link to Hope Calendar says, “For older people to use and enjoy – mug, spoon, cutlery, sensory items, reading glasses, head scarves”.

It’s important to remember that the elderly shoeboxes should be unisex.  That doesn’t mean that every item you put in has to be unisex, but try and include a mix of items, so that a single elderly man doesn’t just receive items like headscarves, jewellery, make up, hair accessories etc. (It’s probably not quite so bad the other way around but try and include a mix.)

In addition to the items on the calendar – the leaflet includes magnifying glass, hot water bottle, work gloves, pen and paper, socks or tights (new!), wind up torch/radio, shampoo, scissors/nail clippers, safety razors, or other items.

Mugs are often reduced in major supermarkets, my local Morrisons have some plain white mugs reduced to 30p in their £1.00 area or see if you have any lurking at the back of a cupboard that are unused.  I’ve managed to get some online for free from sites such as Freegle or Freecycle that were new – often ones that came as gifts with Easter eggs etc. 

You can sometimes pick up cheap cutlery sets and then divide them between a few shoeboxes.  For sensory items lavender bags are easy to make and cheap if you have a garden with a few lavender plants in, or maybe a friend or neighbour would give you some cuttings from their lavender plant.  If you don’t feel like sewing, you can pick up small drawstring pouches cheaply online.  (Similar to the ones I used to put hair accessories and jewellery in.)  Or cut out a piece of fabric put a couple of spoonsful of lavender in the centre and then scrunch up and tie with an elastic band and/or some ribbon.  You could also use cinnamon and cloves for a winter scented bag that might appeal more to a man.  You might be fortunate to find some stress balls reduced or some company’s sometimes give them away free at events with their branding on.

Reading glasses need to be no stronger than 2+.  Morrisons have had some for £1.00 and on my last visit they had reduced them to 50p but only 3+ magnification. Poundstretcher have some for £1.00, and Poundland have had 3 for £3.00.    

Headscarves – the cheapest I’ve found are from Temu which have varied between 73p and 79p.  They are often more expensive on the site – so I only buy them when they are in their flash sales.  I haven’t had much success in charity shops, as they seem to charge £4.00 – £5.00 in my local charity shops.  I have occasionally picked ones up when I’ve been visiting a different area.

Magnifying glasses- Tesco have them for £1.00, as do One Beyond.  (Morrisons occasionally have them in the larger stores.) Wilko online also have some for £1.00 but you need to factor in postage costs – unless you’re lucky enough to live close to one of the re-opened stores.

Hot water bottles are a great addition to an elderly shoebox, especially as the temperatures drop so low in the countries your shoebox will end up in.  I have bought a couple from Temu, but I would recommend buying ones with the BS number and the daisy symbol showing when it was made.  I managed to get some small ones in February in the sale at Dunelm (Thanks Mags for the tip about those) which came complete with a cover for £2.50.  I also bought a couple of full size 2L hot water bottles with covers from Asda for £1.50 each – but I’ll need to be careful which box I put the larger ones in.  I bought some in bulk a year ago and still have a few left and will make simple covers for them, either from some large, knitted squares I was given to make up knee blankets or from fleece which is easy to sew. 

I’ve purchased thin gripper work gloves from Temu for 38p a pair.  Morrisons have some thicker nonslip work gloves in yellow and orange a £1.00 a pair.   Poundstretcher have some similar gloves for £1.49, as do Yorkshire Trading, but the latter have several other types of work gloves for £1.00. 

There are usually local bargains for pens and paper.  Tesco still seems to be the cheapest for a pack of 10 biros. The mixed packet is the cheapest at 50p – though check you’ve been charged the correct amount at the checkout.  The mixed packet contains 4 black, 4 blue and 2 red biros – so can easily be split between 2 shoeboxes.  The single colour packs seem to be more expensive.  For the notebooks – Asda do a 3 pack of reporters’ pads (roughly A5 size though slimmer) for £1.00 so I usually divide them up and add them to my elderly shoeboxes.  If you wanted to add something which looks fancier, then Dunelm currently have a pack of 3 A5 Notebooks for £1.00 and some retractable biros in similar designs or just plain for 62p each.  So more expensive but they do look nicer, but for my £10 challenge it’s probably going to be a few of the Tesco biros and potentially the reporters pad as although it’s the same price it has more pages. 

The next suggestion is socks or tights.  I don’t think I’ve ever put tights in a shoebox, mainly because sizes can vary so much, however I’m sure they would be appreciated.  I usually put a pair of men’s socks in the shoebox as then they are likely to be suitable for either gender – socks which are too big could still be worn as bed socks, but other than gifting them to someone else it would be frustrating getting socks which are too small.  I do sometimes put men’s and ladies socks in a shoebox, but more often I’ll put men’s.  Temu have had some good deals on socks and periodically Poundstretcher have deals on men’s sports socks which tend to be thicker.  Poundland. Primark etc, also have deals from time to time on thicker men’s socks.

A wind-up torch and or radio are lovely gifts, but there aren’t many bargains to be had though.  Ebay have some hand crank torches for just under £4.00 (beware of those showing a picture of 3 torches – when it refers to 3 LED it’s usually referring to the number of bulbs in the torch and not the number of torches.)  Amazon have what looks to be a better quality wind-up torch by Rolson for £3.99 with free delivery if you have a Prime account.  If you can afford to buy a few wind-up torches, then Amazon have a few bulk purchase options for the hand-crank torches ranging from £12.99 for 6 – up to £37.42 for 24 and a range in-between.  The 6 torches work out about £2.17 per torch but if you can afford to purchase 24 then they work out about £1.56 per torch, and all come with free delivery but do take a few weeks to arrive.

My shampoo go to for the elderly boxes is a 3 in 1 body, face and hair wash from Aldi which is 55p for 300ml.  It’s in the men’s range but I think it smells fine.  I’ve listed some alternative options in last month’s blog. 

Nail clippers or small nail scissors are also available cheaply from Temu – so far, I’ve paid between 16p a pair – 22p a pair.  Some were sold singly but others were in packs of 3 so the price is based on dividing up the pack.  Primark had a pack of 3 nail clippers for £1.00 but it looked like they were increasing to £1.25 per pack.  Proper Job have a pack of 3 nail clippers for £1.00 or a 5-piece manicure set for £1.00 which contains 1 nail clipper, 1 pair of nail scissors, tweezers, nail file and cuticle pusher.

I covered razors in my May blog and haven’t seen any new bargains since. 

Other options include men’s cotton hankies, hair grips, brooches, necklaces, emery boards, spare shoelaces, hairbrush/comb, sewing kit, wooden spoon, washing line, pegs, shopping bags etc etc.  I usually add either playing cards or wooden dominos as the small game from the essential items.

This month’s Shoebox Bargain buys.

I’ve only purchased 3 different items from Temu this month – my main buy was a pack of 8 A5 drawing paper notebooks for £4.94 which works out about 62p per book.  They are slightly smaller than a standard A5 book, but the paper seems good quality. My other purchases were a small plastic hammer with a metal striking plate for 70p and a pack of 6 pencil cases for £2.97 so roughly 50p each.  I have bought similar before from Amazon.

Dunelm have a few more stationery items – they still have some pencil cases for 62p, and as mentioned above they have 3 A5 notebooks for £1.00 and matching pens for 62p, as well as a post it notes set for 75p.

Morrisons is my major win this month.  My local Morrisons has a £1.00 section, and they currently have some items reduced.  (I bought a few things at the weekend for between 30p-80p, but they all seem to be reduced to 30p now.)

White Mug 30p

Small spirit level 30p

Detangle Hairbrush 30p

2 Bamboo toothbrushes 30p

1 Toothbrush travel kit 30p

3 Kitchen brushes 30p

200 Hair Grips 30p

48 Ponytail bands 30p

2 Nail Buffers 30p

Set of 6 make up brushes 30p

Tube of Dinosaurs 30p

8 Children’s paint brushes 30p

Children’s paint pallet 30p

Toy Binoculars 30p

10 Pairs of shoelaces – I paid 50p, but these may have been reduced to 30p.

Hope you manage to find some bargains locally.  Till next month.

Update 2 July – there are only a few items left in my local store but they are now reduced to 10p. I’ve bought several more packs of hair grips, make up brushes, and children’s paint brushes, and managed to get another paint pallet, double pack of bamboo toothbrushes, and nail buffers for 10p. I also found a couple of different items for 10p – sisal bath mits and packs of 50 screws.

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