A MOBILE charity shop, believed to be the first in the UK, has been launched by Age UK in South Lakeland.
The ground-breaking store on wheels will travel around rural villages supplementing the work of the charity’s seven outlets in the district.
The Kendal-based charity said the innovative idea was prompted by a 42 per cent increase in the number of older people needing help coupled with a reduction in funding opportunities.
John O’Brien, who oversees the charity’s retail operation, said: “We are constantly challenged to find new ways of raising cash.
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“During the last year we managed to contribute £350,000 that was spent on delivering services, activities and support for and with local older people and our new big idea is to take our shops on the road, focusing on areas which don’t have an Age UK shop or, indeed, any charity shop at all.”
Charity chairman Clive Britton said: “There is no doubt our retail team of staff and volunteers do a sterling job in support of older people but in the last 12 months some of our other sources of funding have come to an end yet the need from older people is increasing.
“We need to consider new activities and initiatives and this wonderful idea – the first in the country – is part of that.
“I urge local people to pop in, meet the team and have a look at items on offer. Every purchase or item donated will help.”
Manned by staff and volunteers, the mobile store will travel to rural areas of the South Lakes to offer goods for sale and to pick up unwanted clothing, books and bric-a-brac.
Places such as Sedbergh, Kirby Lonsdale. Hawkshead and Grasmere will be visited, as will popular country fairs and shows.