Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Aberdeen charity shop Bosies perfect for furnishing your home on a budget

Maggie Lenihan is at the helm of Bosies Breast Cancer Charity.
Maggie Lenihan is at the helm of Bosies Breast Cancer Charity.

From the rising cost of living to the lack of department stores in Aberdeen, styling your home can prove tricky.

Social media would have you believe that a shiny expensive pad is the norm, but how can you achieve similar when you’re on a budget?

Step forward Maggie Lenahan, who can magic up the perfect sofa for your living room or that quirky ornament that you never knew you needed.

But Maggie is not an interior designer, although her stylish window display might say otherwise.

The bargain filled shop can be found on Justice St in Aberdeen.

Proudly at the helm of Bosies on Justice Street in the city centre, Maggie has been manager of the breast cancer charity since it launched 11 years ago.

Family ties

From a small family-run initiative to an award-winning charity with a passionate army of volunteers, Bosies has rapidly become something of an institution.

You never quite know what you’ll find when you go in, and it’s safe to say that Maggie is kept busy.

Our interview halts several times as she greets an eager customer, and she of course knows all the regulars by name.

Aside from enabling people to furnish their homes and fill their wardrobes at a fraction of the cost, Bosies has a poignant story.

Maggie lost her sister to cancer, and has also faced breast cancer herself.

It was founded by Maggie and her daughter in tribute to Maggie’s sister, Wendy Singfield, who passed away from cancer.

Maggie has also battled the disease, as have many of the volunteers who help out.

After undergoing a mastectomy, Maggie received the all-clear, and was determined to give back.

To date, Bosies has raised around £100,000, with the cash going towards the breast cancer research clinic and ward 42 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Keeping the team busy

We caught up with the incredible team, and found out why they’re more in demand than ever.

“I absolutely love what I do, and I’m passionate about helping other women who have been diagnosed,” said Maggie.

“There’s around five of us in the team who have faced breast cancer, with 12 volunteers in total.

“I’ve always been an avid shopper in charity shops, and having worked in retail I knew I’d be able to run a charity shop well.

You never quite know what you’ll find at Bosies.

“In 2019 we were awarded the best charity shop in Scotland at The Scotland Business Awards.

“That was wonderful, to have that recognition.

“It was an achievement and it felt like all our hard work had paid off.”

Step across the threshold, and you’ll find everything from clothing to linen, furniture and those all important knick-knacks which can make a house into a home.

“People donate wonderful things to us,” said Maggie.

“The public is so generous and you often think oh my goodness, why would you get rid of this?

“I think a lot of Aberdonians like to know that their money is staying in Aberdeen.

New crowd

“Originally it would be older women coming into the shop. Occasionally they’d have a teenage granddaughter with them, who would of course be mortified to be seen in here.

“Students come in all the time now, just the other day we had some girls in buying pinnies.

“It was the kind of thing my mum used to wear, and the girls thought they were terrific.”

Maggie believes there is no longer a stigma when it comes to shopping in charity shops.

With homeware stores such as John Lewis closing down, Maggie believes Bosies has benefited.

“I don’t think there are many places where you can come to see homeware, at least in Aberdeen,” she said.

“In comparison, we offer things at a fraction of the price and it can even be brand new with the tags still on.

Cost of living

“In today’s society, people are more and more aware of what they can afford to spend.”

There is also the added bonus that no one will have that same ornament or lamp as you.

“It’s not like in Ikea, where the whole shelf is full of the same product,” said Maggie.

“You can come in here and you’ll find the one and only item, and realise it would go perfect in your hall.

You can furnish your home for a fraction of the cost.

“When people come in, they say that the shop doesn’t look like a charity shop.

“We try to keep things neat and tidy, and we get so much good feedback.

“I think the stigma and attitude of shopping in a charity shop is disappearing.

“You see charity shops on TV, and we get some beautiful items all the time.

“You can quite easily furnish your home from top to bottom, with items that have come from a charity shop.”

Power of volunteers

Like with any charity, it is of course the hard work of the volunteers which has helped Maggie create a wonderful atmosphere.

It’s not just the bargains which have brought back repeat customers, but the rapport.

“There’s always a good atmosphere in here, and our volunteers have become such good friends thanks to working in here,” said Maggie.

Maggie believes you can easily furnish your house from charity shop bargains.

“One of our volunteers recently retired, and she’s really missing the shop. She’s 85 years old!

“Sometimes items come in the door, and go back out to a new home the same day.  We offer a delivery service as well, which is always helpful.

“We tend to only keep things for three weeks, it can be hard to predict what people love sometimes.

“We can get an item and think we’ll never sell that. Then it gets snapped up.”

To support Bosies or find out more, visit them in store or online

Already a subscriber? Sign in