Ipswich: Charity shops benefit from recession

IPSWICH: Cash-strapped shoppers have been watching their pennies in recent months as the after-effects of deep recession take their toll.

But it’s not all doom and gloom in the retail sector – Suffolk’s charity shops are enjoying a boom in trade as consumers hunt out second-hand bargains.

Staff at the East Anglian Air Ambulance shop in Orwell Place, Ipswich, have seen soaring sales since the economy nose-dived.

Sylvia Potter and Sybal Donovan, who run the store, say this year’s sales have flourished – with last month being the most successful on record, boosting the charity’s coffers to the tune of nearly �4,000. Helen Dodman, from the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said the cash was potentially life-saving.

“Helicopters are an expensive piece of equipment to run,” she said.

“The �4,000 from last month equates to three missions for the helicopter crew and therefore could potentially save three lives.”

According to national statistics, one in ten of us are now regularly spending money in charity shops, while the donation of goods hasn’t dipped – despite many households tightening their belts. As well as a wide range of clothing items, the Air Ambulance store boasts a selection of DVDs, type-writers, books, hats and accessories.

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Volunteer Sybal also reveals that the box of LP records is often the target of an excited collector.

Renowned for being popular with fashion and textiles students, and with the run up to Halloween and Christmas fast approaching, second hand stores could be the perfect place to find a fancy dress costume.

n If you would like to make a donation to the East Anglian Air Ambulance, visit their website at www.eaaa.org.uk or walk in to your local branch.

n UCS Students can enjoy a ten per cent discount in store on presenting a valid student ID.

n Are you a fan of charity shops? Tell us why – write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk