Flood-hit Lancaster charity shop moves into church

The Children's Society's Lancaster shop manager Faye Smyth and the Vicar of Lancaster, Rev Chris Newlands, ready to start preparing for the opening of the shop.
The Children's Society's Lancaster shop manager Faye Smyth and the Vicar of Lancaster, Rev Chris Newlands, ready to start preparing for the opening of the shop.

A flood-hit charity shop which lost thousands of pounds worth of goods donated to help vulnerable children will soon be back afloat – by moving into a local church.

The Children’s Society’s shop on Damside Street in Lancaster was among city centre buildings affected by flooding during Storm Desmond over the weekend of December 5-6.

The scene outside the Lancaster Children's Society charity shop following the flooding.

The scene outside the Lancaster Children's Society charity shop following the flooding.

Flood waters entered the shop while it was closed and rose to around two and a half feet high. It could be months before the building can re-open to the public.

But shop manager Faye Smyth and her volunteers were determined not to be defeated by the elements.

And an agreement has now been reached with the Church of England for The Children’s Society to open a ‘pop-up’ shop at Lancaster Priory Church, on Priory Close off Castle Hill.

Under the arrangement with a difference, the shop, in the far left corner of the stunning historic building, will be open to the public from 10am-4pm on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays while repairs are made to the flood-damaged city centre unit.

The pop-up shop will be opened by The Venerable Michael Everitt, the Archdeacon of Lancaster, at noon on Monday January 25. All are welcome to attend the opening.

The Children’s Society is now appealing for more donations from kind-hearted members of the public as it stocks its unusual new outlet – and anyone interested in volunteering at the shop is also urged to get in touch.

Proceeds from their sale will help to fund the national charity’s vital work fighting child poverty and neglect – including the Lancaster district, where projects include support for children in and leaving care as well as those at risk of child sexual exploitation and of going missing from home.

Faye said: “My heart sank when I saw the scene of devastation at our shop. We had volunteers coming in specially to help sweep out the water but we were fighting a losing battle.

“It’s fantastic that we can set up shop in this beautiful venue and a wonderful gesture by the Priory.

“Like the Cchurch, people in the Lancaster district are generous supporters of our work and, as always, any help they can give us by visiting and donating to our quirky pop-up shop will be hugely appreciated.

“Some of the challenges faced by the children and young people supported by The Children’s Society really do help put difficult times like this into perspective.”

Vicar of Lancaster Rev Chris Newlands, from the Priory, said: “Last month’s floods had a devastating impact and at times like this it’s more important than ever for communities to pull together and for people to support one another.

“The Children’s Society does vital work and is one of the charities we support so we thought this pop-up shop would be a brilliant thing to do.

“I would urge local people to come and visit the church and shop and help support a really worthwhile cause.”

If you would like to donate goods to the shop please contact Faye Smyth on 01995 606661 or at faye9876@gmail.com and she will make arrangements to collect them. You can also contact Faye to discuss volunteering opportunities.

The shop is looking for everything from clothes, books and toys to music, jewellery and other household goods.

The Children’s Society was founded by a Sunday school teacher in 1881 and although the two are separate organisations, the charity works in close partnership with the Church of England.