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Free bookshop in Ipswich town centre to close - but search on for new premises

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:00 13 March 2020

Lead volunteer Lucy Mortlock, left, with volunteers Kate and Ed at the GET Free Books shop in Ipswich Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Lead volunteer Lucy Mortlock, left, with volunteers Kate and Ed at the GET Free Books shop in Ipswich Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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A free bookshop in Ipswich town centre is closing tomorrow- but is appealing for help to find new premises.

Global Educational Trust's free bookshop in Princes Street, Ipswich, is closing, but it is hoped to move to new premises. Picture: JUDY RIMMER.Global Educational Trust's free bookshop in Princes Street, Ipswich, is closing, but it is hoped to move to new premises. Picture: JUDY RIMMER.

The Global Educational Trust GET Free Books shop at 15/17 Princes Street opened a year ago, in a building which had previously been empty.

However, it has announced that Friday, March 13, is its last day in the current shop,

GET uses shops that are temporarily vacant, with the space being donated by the landlord. The charity's aim is to promote literacy and a love of reading, and customers can take up to three books free of charge each time they visit, with the option of making a small donation.

Community events and children's activities have also been held in the shop over the past year.

The children's room at the Global Educational Trust bookshop in Ipswich Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe children's room at the Global Educational Trust bookshop in Ipswich Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Hundreds of books have been donated, and handed out to customers, since it opened its doors.

Lead volunteer Lucy Mortlock said: 'We have had a lot of support, and a lot of people are disappointed the shop is closing, so we would love to find somewhere else as the demand is there. People don't just come in to get books - a lot of people come in for a coffee and a chat.'

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The shop will be staying open until 5pm on its last day, Friday. Visitors are being asked to take some books with them so that not so many need to go into storage.

Lucy said: 'We would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped to build the shop up - we have 14 volunteers now. We also want to thank the customers, many of whom have become regulars, that have supported us with visits, spreading the word and donations.'

Shaylesh Patel, property manager for the charity, said: 'We really want to maintain a presence in the town, and are looking for somewhere else to go.'

He said the ideal would be another retail premises in the town centre with good disabled access, so that as many people as possible can visit, but they could also consider buildings which are slightly further out. The charity could potentially move in right away if a building is available now.

There were advantages for landlords in keeping empty premises in use, he added, such as avoiding damp and keeping the building in good condition. Landlords allowing the trust to use a building could also potentially benefit from the business rates holiday for small businesses announced in yesterday's budget.

If you can help with the offer of a building, call Shaylesh Patel on 07880 788865, or email shaylesh@astop.org.uk

For updates on the shop's plans to relocate, search for @GETFreeBooks on Facebook.

Lucy also plans to let the tourist information centre in Ipswich know as and when the charity finds a new home in the town, so it can let people know.

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