Crouch End charity workers paints pets to help the homeless
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A charity worker in Crouch End is painting people’s beloved cats and dogs with a donation going towards homeless people.
Victoria Vickers, manager of the Shelter shop in Topsfield Parade, is giving 20 per cent of customer donations back to the charity in exchange for each water-coloured painting of a commissioned pet.
The 53-year-old artist, who has been working for Shelter for four years, started offering animal portraits a year ago after seeing dogs enter the store with their owners.
She said: “I’ve been painting since I was five years old, my mother was an artist. I had a feel for painting animals, I don’t do human portraits.
“My shop has such a community feel with people coming in with the kids and dogs I thought it would be a good idea. It means I can do something here and offer something to the charity at the same time.
“When I do a painting for any one I give 20 pc back to shelter. The prices vary, I normally charge £65 - £90 depending on the size.”
An animal lover, she once had four dogs, three cats, two budgies and a tropical fish tank but they all died.
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“Over time they passed away and now I live in a smaller property so it’s not really feasible, but I love the animals who come in the shop.”
She has also started a weekly art class with a suggested donation of £3. She added: “I wanted to do something for the community. It’s very basic, people can come along and give a donation to Shelter. It’s good fun, I do a little bit of tutoring but mostly we feed off each other.”
Ms Vickers, who has worked for a number of charities including the Salvation Army, Red Cross and the North London Hospice, said she felt moved to help the homeless advice charity she now works for. She said: “This charity means something to me. The housing problem is simply crazy and getting worse.
“It’s hard for far too many people. We don’t see them all on the street, there are families in hostels, people living in horrible conditions.”
To commission a painting, join a class or find out about volunteering opportunities at the shop, Ms Vickers said simply to “pop in.”
The shop is open from 10am-6pm Monday – Sunday.