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‘Not just another charity shop’ - unusual venture opens in Norfolk town

PUBLISHED: 09:05 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:06 22 January 2018

From left, Paul Oakes, Bob Wright and Jon Witte, trustees of the new North Walsham Community Shop. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Oakes

From left, Paul Oakes, Bob Wright and Jon Witte, trustees of the new North Walsham Community Shop. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Oakes

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Forget what you think you know about charity shops - here’s a new spin on an old idea.

The new North Walsham Community Shop. Picture: Stuart AndersonThe new North Walsham Community Shop. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Rather than benefitting one particular charity like the vast majority of other stores of its kind, the newly-opened North Walsham Community Shop is there simply to put money back into the town.

Established by North Walsham residents Paul Oakes, Bob Wright and Jon Witte, the Market Street store stocks everything from kitchenware to books, toys and DVDs.

Mr Oakes said the three trustees had provided the seed money for the shop, which was currently staffed by a team of nine volunteers.

He said: “It’s all about raising money for projects in North Walsham, and raising the profile of the town.

“All of the money that we make after the rent and overheads will go back into the community - that’s what we’re all about.”

Mr Oakes said the first project the shop was getting behind was North Walsham Play’s annual Easter egg hunt, to take place on March 31 at the town’s memorial park.

MORE: North Norfolk arts charity set to close

He said: “We’re going to be buying all the treats and the Easter eggs for the hunt.”

The trustees came up with the idea for the shop more than three years ago.

Mr Oakes said: “It’s been a long process but it’s lovely to have found this location on the high street, in a spot where many people come past.

“The premises was in the right place and the right location to carry forward.”

Mr Oakes said they planned to apply for charity status for the shop, and would have a ‘grand opening’ in February.

Since 2014 the premises, at 1 Market Place, had been occupied by Arts North Norfolk, which staged music, drama, and cinema events across the region. It shut down early last year after the resignation of its chief executive, Joseph Ballard, in September 2016.

Before that, the building housed the Dragonfly women’s fashion shop.

Mr Oakes said more volunteers were being sought and donations of unwanted goods could be made during business hours (9.30am-3pm Monday and Wednesday to Friday, 9.30am-4pm Tuesday, 9.30am-2pm Saturday, closed Sunday) or pick-ups could be arranged. Call 01692 409141 or 07789 306568 or email pmoakes@btinternet.com for more information.

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