'We need YOU to help women and children start their lives again'
DONATIONS to a charity shop that helps vulnerable women and their families rebuild their lives after escaping domestic abuse are at a six-year low.
As reported, the Women's Aid shop, in Grimsby Road, Cleethorpes, not only sells donated goods to raise money for the charity, but also provides clothes for women and children who have arrived at the refuge with nothing but the clothes on their back.
However, co-ordinator Gina Smith said donations of clothes, toys, goods and furnishings have dropped to such an extent, they were recently unable to provide clothes for a child in need.
She said: "We are struggling for items, especially children's toys and clothes, because of the credit crunch and high unemployment.
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"It's hard for me when I can't supply items for women and their children; I have to say we haven't got the items available.
"I think we are a forgotten charity – so please remember us. We help local women and children start their life again."
While everything from cots to children's clothes and toys can be passed on to these women and their children, the shop is also usually a great place to pick up a bargain outfit while doing your bit.
Gina and her team have also come up with novel ideas of different ways to raise cash to support the charity's vital work – such as in store donation stations for recycling unwanted biscuit wrappers, baby wipe packets and used printer cartridges.
She said: "We all eat biscuits or even use baby wipes – so please save your wrappings of any brand and bring them to the shop."
The Women's Aid bookshop, Books 'n' Stuff, which is also based in Grimsby Road, is struggling too.
Co-ordinator Lisa Crofts said it is difficult at this time of year, as donations always fall in the run-up to Christmas.
She said: "We are low on all unwanted items, and you can even donate rags which have paint on or a button missing, because we can still make money from them."
Of course, making a donation is not the only way you can help – you could also join the team of more than 20 volunteers who play a huge role in running the shop.
Not only will you be able to gain real-life retail experience and gain skills – you might just make a few friends along the way.
One volunteer is Margaret Huntley, 60, from Grimsby Road, who started working at the shop after being made redundant.
"I worked in a fish factory for 20 years and, after being made redundant, I was bored and needed something to do," she said.
"I have been here for four years and I love it – customers and colleagues are really nice."
Another volunteer is Sally Howard, who began supporting the charity by knitting items.
She said most people support other charity shops, but forget how important the local branch of Women's Aid is.
"I think this is a charity which doesn't immediately come to people's minds, which is a shame," she said.
"It's for a great charity and is really important for our local women and children."
Find out more
To see how you can help – including becoming a volunteer – call into the shop on the corner of Tiverton Street or call Gina on 01472 319104. For more information about the book shop, call Lisa on 079 264 33379.