AN ORGANISATION which raises funds for seven good causes in the borough says charity should begin at home.
Ellesmere Port Charity Support Shop provides vital finance for Ellesmere Port & Neston Community Transport, the local branch of forces help charity SSAFA, Cat Rescue, Riding for the Disabled, HELP Everyone Lessen Pain, South Wirral Stroke Club and Chapter, which serves people with a mental disability.
The money comes mainly from two charity shops in Chester Road Whitby.
But, according to the shops’ founder and owner Pam Clarke, persuading people to back these grassroots local charities is becoming increasingly tough.
She said: “It often feels like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall.
“We do all sorts of things to keep ourselves in the public eye but all too often when people in this area consider making a donation to charity they think of the larger regional or national ones.”
She added: “Our message to the public is that, please, consider local charities first. After all, as they say, charity begins at home.”
Pam set up the shops with her late husband Tony in 2002, since when they have contributed £110,000 to the charities they support, which must be based within the borough.
After deducting rent and rates, every penny raised goes to the good causes.
Pam, who was the Pioneer’s Champion Person in last year’s ScottishPower Your Champions Awards, stresses there are no paid workers at the shops, which are run by a team of 24 dedicated volunteers.
Apart from working in the shops, the volunteers also become involved in other money-raising ventures such as when they posed, scantily clad, for their own 2008 calendar.
Pam added: “Despite our continued efforts to raise the profile of our local charities, few people are really aware of how vital these groups are to our community.
“If every adult in Ellesmere Port gave just £1 a year, these little charities would never need to worry about raising finances.
“However, I do thank everyone who already supports us, both in the shops – donating and purchasing – and also at outside fundraisers.”