School girls start charity pop-up shop for pets in 'EmpowHER' project

Girls from Ipswich schools have worked together on the pop-up pet shop

Girls from Ipswich schools have worked together on the pop-up pet shop. Leah is second to right - Credit: EmpowHER

A pop-up shop, selling low priced pet supplies, is being run by a group of Ipswich school girls as part of a project to improve confidence and wellbeing amongst vulnerable young women.

The EmpowHER project, run by not-for-profit organisation Autism and ADHD, held a pop-up shop in St John's Church in Ipswich on Wednesday, April 7, selling pet food to people in need.

The project was so successful they're hosting another one at St Francis Church Hall on Sunday, April 25.

It was down to the young women involved in the project to decide which area they wanted to work on and after a recent documentary about people living on the streets with their pets, it was decided more needed to be done to help.

The EmpowHER project is helping girls in Ipswich and Suffolk get involved with social action

The EmpowHER project is helping girls in Ipswich and Suffolk get involved with social action - Credit: EmpowHER

Leah, aged 13, is a student at Copleston High School and got involved in the project due to her love of pets — she has a dog named Teddy, a cat named Sophie and two bunnies called Cookie and Star.

"The project has helped so much with my confidence," she said. "I made friends with everyone and I would definitely encourage other people to do it."

The teen was selected by her school to take part and her mum said: "Leah’s confidence has grown tremendously during the EmpowHER programme.

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"The programme has helped Leah connect with new friends and has supported her to focus her attributes in a positive way."

Michelle Chisholm and Kristie Frost from Empo

Michelle Chisholm and Kristie Frost from Empo - Credit: EmpowHER

Kristie Frost, a member of the Autism and ADHD team involved in the project, said the aim is to help the girls form online friendships, reduce loneliness and isolation during the Covid pandemic, as well as creating their own social action project in the community.

She added: "During a time where the pressure of school work has been difficult, EmpowHER has allowed the girls to show their personality, be part of a supportive community which has helped them thrive and get through times where they haven't been able to socialise with friends."

The team is asking for food and pet food to be donated before the next pop-up on Sunday between 11.30am and 1pm.

Anyone that attends can fill an average size bag full of items for only £2 and all money raised will be donated to The Blue Cross.

Email info@autismandadhd.org if you would like to support the team and to find out where food donation drop off points are. 

To donate to the EmpowHER fundraiser see here.

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