Free bookshop raises funds for charity
A dynamic group of volunteers has taken over an empty shop in Devonshire Road, Bexhill, and filled it with free books to encourage people to enjoy reading and raise funds for local charity, Hastings Furniture Service (HFS). Chief executive Naomi Ridley writes.
The volunteers are making use of the empty shop, keeping it aired and open while the landlord looks for a commercial tenant. In the meanwhile, the shop has been filled with books that might otherwise have gone to waste. Customers can choose any three books for free, but donations are encouraged by the volunteers who have chosen to donate every penny raised to local charity HFS. The funds raised will be used to support DIY and craft skills sessions for women in local refuges.
HFS runs the sessions for survivors of domestic violence to boost their confidence, self-esteem and provide some practical useful skills to help them maintain and improve their next home safely, using low-cost and reused materials. The women say they thoroughly enjoy the supportive, calming creative sessions. Learning how to put up shelves, upcycle gifts and wire plugs are all useful skills for the women to take with them when they move on from the refuge to their new home with their children.
“I’m very happy to be part of a volunteer group that has saved thousands of books from landfill. It’s great to see people browsing the books and enjoying reading. It’s also very sociable; people love to chat so I’ve got to know more people in Bexhill and I work with a lovely group of fellow volunteers. Joining with HFS means we’re raising funds for a practical, worthwhile local cause,” said volunteer Cathy Wilson.
Naomi Ridley said, “The volunteers have an inspiring enthusiasm for preventing waste and encouraging people to read, and we’re delighted that they have chosen to raise funds for our refuge training project. HFS has been able to provide some support for the project by furnishing the shop, including a comfy reading area and some furniture for the storytelling sessions the volunteers plan to run soon.”
If a commercial tenant is found for this building, we hope to find another shop for the project – and we’re interested in talking to any estate agents and landlords who have an empty property and would like to see it put to use for the benefit of the community, while they continue to market it.
Book donations very welcome!
The volunteers would welcome more helpers, so if you would like to help, please get in touch with the shop or HFS to discuss joining the team. The bookshop at 50 Devonshire Road and the HFS store in London Road are both open six days a week. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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