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Age UK opens new furniture store on Chester estate

Shop at The Parade sells new, second hand and factory second stock

Volunteer Emily Griffiths cuts the ribbon to declare the revamped Age UK shop at Blacon's Parade open for business(Image: UGC)

A new Age UK furniture shop selling new, second hand and factory second stock has opened its doors to shoppers on a Chester housing estate.

And the charity has also refurbished and refitted its existing store on Blacon’s Parade with long serving volunteers given the honour of cutting the ribbons to declare the new and refurbished stores open.

Vera Matthews, 75, of Newtown and Renee Halford, 74, of Saughall declared the new furniture shop open while Emily Griffiths, of Blacon, proudly opened the revamped charity shop just a couple of doors down from the new furniture shop.

Vera, who originally hails from Cornwall, settled in Chester in 1983 after her then husband, who was serving in the RAF, was posted to Sealand.

She said: “I have two daughters who both live in Chester as well as four grandchildren and one great grandchild. I served in the RAF myself before working for the civil service.

“I really enjoy working at Age UK and have spent more than 10 years working as a volunteer.

Age UK Volunteers, from left, Emily Griffiths, Renee Halford and Vera Matthews(Image: UGC)

“It’s a great team and the customers are fantastic. You never know what you are going to find. I even came across £400 in bank notes in the pocket of one donated suit.

“We contacted the family who were really grateful. We also have to check donated jewellery really closely, some people sometimes don’t realise its truth worth.”

She added: “It was a real honour being asked to cut the ribbon to declare the new furniture shop open.”

Reene Halford says she has been a volunteer at Age UK’s Blacon shop for 16 years and it’s a role she really enjoys.

She said: “I have lived in Saughall since 1964 and used to work in bank and building societies. I have two sons, one who is in the RAF in Gloucester. My other son lives locally and I help look after my young grandson.

“I really enjoy volunteering at Age UK, it’s a lovely team to work with and the customers are wonderful.

“I remember we once had a race goer come in and hand over £100. He said put that in the till, better that than me wasting it on the horses! Some people are really kind and very generous.”

She added: “On another occasion a regular customer, quite an elderly lady, came in with her shopping trolley. As she left she asked if we would accept a cheque as she wanted to make a donation. It was for £3,000 which is amazing.

“I was really pleased to be asked to cut the ribbon with Vera and declare the new furniture shop open. It’s been quite an honour.”

Emily Griffiths, who has volunteered for five years at the Age UK Blacon shop, says it was a real thrill being asked to open the newly revamped shop.

She said: “I work at the bakery on the Parade and spend about 10 hours a week volunteering at Age UK. I live in Blacon and have a daughter too.

“Age UK really helped my mum when she needed some advice and I just think it’s a brilliant charity. The team I work with are great and the customers so nice. It’s a real team effort, a bit like a family really.”

Sally Hughes, Age UK area sales manager, says the charity upgraded their original shop as part of a rolling programme of improvements across the region and opened the furniture shop after lots of enquiries from customers about the availability of good furniture.

She said: “We are always in need of good quality donations whether that is clothing, books, bric-a-brac or anything else. Now we are able to take good quality furniture too but we also sell factory seconds.

“We asked Vera, Renee and Emily to officially open the shops as we simply couldn’t operate without our hard-working volunteers.

“All three ladies work incredibly hard and that means we can raise the money we need to supply the services we do to older people as well as fund research into age related issues.”

She added: “The new store and the revamped shop are a credit to the Parade and I’m sure our many loyal Blacon customers will like what we have done.

“I’d encourage anyone who has any items to donate to think of Age UK and that goes for anyone who may be able to spare a couple of hours a week to volunteer.”

To learn more about Age UK please visit www.ageuk.org.uk.

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