HUNDREDS of supporters turned out to back a Bognor Regis centre’s first shop.
The large turnout for the fundraising venture from My Sisters’ House women’s centre enabled it to take the first step towards bigger premises.
The pop-up shop initiative on Saturday saw £945 raised for the community interest company.
My Sisters’ House founder Julie Budge said: “The day has been absolutely amazing. We have had a lot of community support. There has been a constant stream of people coming in.
“I would say we’ve have 200 people in the first two hours. One of our tables of goods is already half full. It’s very exciting and well worth the effort.
“We’ve had really good feedback as well. People have asked us if we will be doing the same thing again.
“I would like to open the shop once a quarter if possible because of the success of today.”
The one-day shop took place in an empty shop in the High Street thanks to its owner, the Reynolds family.
The 1,000sq ft premises were full with hundreds of items of clothing, toys and other donated items. Most were priced as low as 50p each. Some designer clothes were for sale at higher prices.
The offer of the shop enabled My Sisters’ House to forget its original idea of a marquee in the town centre and enable more items to be sold and an easier procedure to set it up and take away any unsold items.
“It’s an absolute asset having this shop. It’s so much easier than a marquee and is in a good central location,” said Julie.
She set up My Sisters’ House in June, 2015. Its services to help women who have suffered domestic abuse and to boost the confidence of others has seen it help to improve the lives of 580 clients.
Some 20-30 newcomers arrive each month at its current main premises in London Road and the centre’s volunteers support some 180 women at any time. Their ages can range from seven to 80.
The demand means more space is urgently required. The London Road building is 300sq ft and another building used is the centre is the same size.
“We really want 2,000sq ft of space,” Julie said. “That will cost us about £15,000 a year. I want to keep it in Bognor Regis but it’s hard to find that type of space in the town.”
The value of the temporary shop had also been in promoting the centre’s work.
Julie said: “It’s not just about making money. It’s about telling people what we do and enabling them to seek our help they need it.”
One of the ten volunteers on the day was Kerry Healy. She went to the centre nine months ago as a result of domestic abuse. She said: “The centre has really built up my confidence and I want to give back and help other women who are in the same position.”
The premises will be used as a site office for flat conversion works above next year and refurbished for letting afterwards.