Having been built over a century ago, our current Charity Shop and Tearooms are in desperate need of some love- a complete refurbishment to improve accessibility, creating a welcoming and enjoyable experience for all.

Read Paula's story below to see how beneficial and life-changing the Charity Shop has been to her and how it can benefit others.


Paula, who has cerebral palsy, lives in the village of Enham Alamein and has been volunteering in our Charity Shop for many years. She volunteers in the shop 3 times a week and provides an excellent service to each of our customers with whom she thoroughly enjoys interacting, creating a real sense of belonging for Paula.

Volunteering in the Charity Shop continues to be a huge boost to Paula’s confidence and sense of self-purpose. After many months of shielding due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the volunteering opportunities in our Charity Shop are more important than ever before, supporting Paula and others to reconnect with the locals and tackling the loneliness felt throughout many months of lockdown and isolation.

On her role, Paula said: "I love volunteering in the Charity Shop, it’s such a fun place to be. “I’m so excited for the refurbishment to get started as it will mean I am able to move around the shop more freely in my chair allowing me to get even more involved in everything the shop has to offer. I can’t wait!”

 An excerpt from an original report by ITV News Meridian (November 2021)

As Paula is a wheelchair, user the current ramps into and around the shop are essential, however, these are narrow and difficult for Paula to use as the remainder of the shop is crammed full. She also currently requires support to enter and leave the building and to use the toilet due to the existing heavy doors that she is unable to reach from her wheelchair.

Paula is an incredibly proud member of our Charity Shop team and loves contributing to our vital work. On top of her current role serving customers, Paula would love to help sort through the donations we receive and display these for sale, but the current inaccessibility of the building is restricting Paula from experiencing these different opportunities in the shop.

Our much-needed refurbishment will remove all these restrictions for Paula, ensuring she is able to continue to flourish in her volunteering role, increasing her confidence even more as she develops new skills. Through removing internal walls, widening doorways, installing electric doors and improved ramps, we will enhance the accessibility for Paula and many other disabled individuals working in the shop on our unique supported employment programmes. Importantly this will create an enjoyable and welcoming experience not just for Paula and the rest of the team, but for every customer popping in.


Did Paula's story strike a chord with you?

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