The Newlife Foundation, Birmingham

Charity and shops, when put together often produce a negative crinkle of the nose from many. Shopping in charity shops is often thought of as a bit cheap. I know plenty of people who if you suggested looking in a charity shop for an item of clothing would immediately dismiss you with a snort of derision. I also know of plenty of people for whom popping into a charity shop is part of their shopping routine. Some people view it as riffling through a recently deceased person’s nightwear, whereas others refer to it as foraging for vintage treasures. Whatever your opinion on charity shopping I have a place for you that brings a whole new dimension to the relationship between charity and shops.

Newlife Foundation is a charity that focuses on supporting children that were born with, or developed in early life, disabilities. Giving support to the children, parents, and carers by funding research and grants. It is also a charity that thinks outside of the box. One of the ways Newlife raises funds is through their ‘Shopping with Newlife’ scheme, this includes their superstore in Cannock, Birmingham.

The concept behind this is brilliant and, providing you have your wits about you, you can fill your wardrobe with brand new, great quality clothes whilst contributing to charity. The concept is this: Major retailers send their unsold stock to Newlife who then sell it and put the profit into the charity.

Aside from the very important fact that you are raising money for a great cause, this place gives you the opportunity to get a lot of good quality clothes for your money. From New Look to Levi’s, and even all the way up to Karen Millan, there are some BIG names that contribute.

I love this place and I visit at least once a year, usually taking no more than £100, coming back with a fair old amount of clothes and a reasonable amount of change. The last time I visited I spent £85 and got 5 dresses and a pair of River Island jeans amongst a few other bits. Of the dresses one was an Oasis dress and another was a Ted Baker dress. This place is brilliant and I would definitely recommend a visit. It’s worth travelling for and if you are heading off to the Bullring it’s not too much of a diversion.

Now, the phrase “if something sounds too good to be true….” isn't totally void here. There are a few things you must look out for if you go, after all the products were unsold in their original store for a reason:

  1. Probably the least of concern is the fact that the products are usually from last season. If you are a religious fashion follower and you must be in season then don’t bother. The stuff sold here can be a couple of seasons out of date. 
  2. You must look out for damage. By no means is everything damaged but broken zips, dropped hems, and missing buttons are common. There are however cases where there are massive gaping holes where there shouldn't be. If it looks fixable and you’re willing then there’s no real issue but some things just can’t be fixed. (I bought a coat from here that was missing a few buttons….I bought new buttons and sewed them on. Including the buttons I spent £8 and got myself a coat that I still use now….I bought it 4 years ago.)
  3. You may need to wash your new clothes before wearing them, not because they have been pre-worn but because they may have dirty marks on them. Different brands have different levels of what they call damaged, some consider a slight dirt mark damaged, others think a bra with a missing strap is fine. Some of the clothes have trample marks on them from a stint on the floor. A bit of dirt is no great shakes.
  4. They have to cut the labels out of the clothes. There are laws. They have to abide by them. If you are looking to be able to show of a label then you’re out of luck, however, sometimes it is very easy to tell where the item came from – usually because you’ve seen it before in store! Other times the brand is part of the design – Levi T shirts tend to have Levi written in the motif, River Island jeans have River Island written on the buttons, you get the idea. Bear in mind that they cut out EVERY label.....even the one with washing instructions. If you're not sure how to wash something....ask your mum! 
  5. The sizing can be a little off. Some of the stuff that goes in is there because it has been mislabelled at production, Newlife disregard a large amount of sizing and resize at what they believe it to be. This can lead to some questionable sizing.

Ultimately, if you are up for a rifle and you’re willing to put more effort in than just picking something up off a rail then this place is great. I like a challenge so I love visiting this place. We used to assign a full day to rifling through but these days we can get through the whole place in half a day – we definitely have a routine down! They often have little bonus offers on too, for example, the last time I went they were running an offer on “ticketed dresses” (some clothes have tags and other are stickered), for every tagged dress you bought you got a free scarf that was priced at £2.99 (5 ticketed dresses got me 5 free scarves….I love scarves so I was chuffed!). Other times it’s 25% off certain items, etc.

You do need to posses a Newlife card; in the same sort of way you need a Matalan card. You do have to pay a membership fee in order to get the card but it's no more than £10 and they sort you out with a card there and waiting! 

On top of clothes they have a separate store across the road where you can get homeware and furniture. It’s not as good as the clothing store but it’s certainly worth a quick visit just in case. We’ve bought a couple of bits from there.

Newlife have got a great concept here and it is a win-win situation for everyone; you get to shop and feel good about where your money is going, the charity gets funding for research. It really is recycling at its best!

You can find more information about Newlife Foundation here, and for more information on the Superstore visit the website here.

There have got to be more places like this up and down the UK, so if you know of anywhere similar to this please let me know so I can add it on here. I know Birmingham may be too far to travel for some people and it would be great to hear about places for those who can’t get to Birmingham.

Please note; This is in no way a sponsored post. Newlife have not contacted me to write this and any money spent was my own. All opinions are my own; I am simply sharing information and tips on a genuinely brilliant place. 


  1. This place is brilliant!!!. Had some real bargains in the past, like a ted baker bag and a river island coat and its so cheap, its also a good idea to ask what special offers are on in the store when you arrive as things can be half price or even 75% off.

  2. I love it! I think it's a great concept! :)

    B x


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