Inside what used to be a hardware shop in Preston there’s a force for good going on.Advertisement
The largest second hand charity shop in the UK is now housed just off North Road.
Emmaus Preston has been running for a month in the old B&Q store and the response from the city, and beyond, has been ‘overwhelming’ according to the volunteers manning the shop floor.
Surrounded by beds, desks and countless bric-a-brac this former retail environment is now giving the city a place to take their unwanted goods but also ensuring people can kit out their homes at a fraction of the display room prices.
From electrical goods to a new desk, to clothes and old vinyl records, there’s all sorts in here.
Kath Derbyshire, a board member at Emmaus Preston, said they were doing a roaring trade.
She said: “Since the doors opened there’s been a real need for this store. We’re working hard to keep up with all the goods which are being donated or collected by the vans.
“Old sofas seem to be most donated thing. I never knew people upgraded their sofas as often as they seem to.
“I’ve mainly been dealing with the bric-a-brac and we have had all sorts come in donations wise.
“Somebody elses trash is someone elses treasure is a saying I often use. And it’s definitely true here.”
Listen to what Kath had to say below
The Emmaus store is regularly trading at more than £1,000-a-day and this money is being ploughed back into supporting homeless people restart their lives.
Kath said: “The owner of this building has been fanastic. It’s great to see it finding this kind of use and we have a three month rolling deal.
“But we need more volunteers to help. This is a huge space and there’s so much coming in that it is hard to keep on top of it.”
Read more: Preston hero Kathleen Derbyshire given MBE
One of those being given the opportunity to get their life back into shape is 30-year-old Damien.
He said: “I’ve been working on this since the start and it really makes me feel proud to see how it has developed and knowing I have helped to make this happen.
“The reaction from people coming in has been fantastic. We have 30 minutes free parking out the front and this often isn’t enough once people start exploring round.
“For me Emmaus is really important as I was struggling before to hold down a place to live. Having this to focus on has helped me and given me the confidence I lacked.
“Now I will be able to put on my CV that I helped set up and manage the largest charity shop in the UK!”
The megastore is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm from Monday to Saturday.
We saw beds, desks, sofas, tables, chairs, kettles, toasters, fridges, computers, old records, clothes, wardrobes and more.
An important thing to note is they need the fire regulation stickers and labels on beds and other furniture otherwise Emmaus can’t accept them.
Collection can be arranged, just call 01772796622.
Some of the things we found in the Emma Megastore
It’s a UK charity working in 28 communities across the country and giving a home and meaningful work to more than 700 formerly homeless people.
Emmaus is most successful when everyone makes a contribution. For us, that means working together in the social enterprise, to generate funds needed to support the community and the companions that call it home.
In return, companions are expected to work 40 hours per week or as much as they are able in the charity’s social enterprise. They are required to sign off all benefits with the exception of housing benefit, which is claimed to help support the community. The ultimate goal is for each community to become self-sufficient, supporting itself with the revenue it generates through its businesses.
The first Emmaus community was founded in Paris in 1949.
Have you been into the Emma megastore? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below