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Barnardo’s first Welsh charity shop superstore opens in Swansea

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The children’s charity Barnardo’s has opened its first ever Welsh charity superstore in Swansea as more people turn to sustainable shopping.

Five times the size of their usual shops, at close to 10,000 square feet, the store on the Parc Tawe retail park offers everything from clothing and accessories to furniture and electrical white goods.

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Barnardo’s say that there are also large ranges of new goods and with the stock constantly changing, shoppers will find different bargains every time they call in.

Swansea is only the fourth charity superstore in the UK for Barnardo’s, the others being in Bournemouth, Coventry and Bradford, and it marks a move towards a new generation of charity retail with the feel of a mainstream store but with charity shop prices.

Shoppers will be able to pick up everything from a rattan garden furniture set to a smart jacket for the family dog.

Lea McManus, Store Development and Operations Lead for Barnardo’s said: “We are very excited about the Swansea superstore as it will allow us to offer wider ranges which we can’t provide in our traditional high street stores. Free parking and a dedicated drop-off station for donations will make it easy for people to donate as well as shop.”

The charity also recognises the changing trends in shopping habits. “There is a definite move by the public to buy clothes and household items sustainably – and we find people also want to dress to stand out from the crowd. That trend has seen a growing interest in our vintage and retro garments and accessories,” said Lea.

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A survey carried out on behalf of Barnardo’s in 2019 showed that Britons were expected to spend £2.7Bn on summer fashion that would only be worn once. Since the charity’s shops reopened following the pandemic there has been an upsurge in people choosing to shop more sustainably and that is expected to increase further as the cost of living crisis bites.

Karen Haines, manager, with mannequin at Parc Tawe superstore

The scale of the Swansea operation means the charity needs to recruit an army of around 80 volunteers in addition to its 12 staff, all under the management of Karen Haines who has worked for Barnardo’s for a decade, eight of them in Llanrumney, Cardiff where she had a very loyal band of volunteers.

“We have recruited a wonderful team at Parc Tawe and anyone thinking of volunteering will receive a very warm welcome. We are keen to have a diverse range of volunteers representing the local community.

“The store is fully accessible and it’s an exciting opportunity to be part of a team, make friends and get experience in everything from eBay sales to merchandising, customer service and other retail skills which can boost confidence and lead to employment,” said Karen.

Volunteers need to be aged at least 14 and be able to commit at least two hours a week. Anyone interested can find out more by calling in.

Despite the size of the store Barnardo’s wants it to become very much part of the local area with community noticeboards and people encouraged to come in for a chat and a browse.

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Karen said: “We are just so excited to get started and make it a really successful store, raising money to support Barnardo’s work with vulnerable children and families.”

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