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Co-op is well-known for giving back to the community. One of the ways they’ve supported the charity I work for, Emmaus, is by helping us set up the UK’s first charity department store in one of their empty properties in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
Emmaus supports formerly homeless people to get back on their feet by giving them a home, meaningful work and access to important support services. We’re all about giving people a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ and our values and principles are very much in line with the Co-op’s.
‘You can’t underestimate what this means to us’
A lot of the money we need to fund what we do comes from people buying things in our charity shops.
And thanks to Co-op, our latest shop, a former three storey department store in Rochdale, opened at the beginning of the year. It sells everything from sofas and washing machines, to books and second hand clothing, and will be staffed entirely by the people who use our services.
You really can’t underestimate how much this means to us. We reckon that Emmaus Rochdale will help us support 60 more people over the next year. It means that those people will have a job, home and tailored support for as long as they need it.
Our shops create communities, not only among the people who work there, but also amongst our customers. They can see very clearly where the money is going and what it does, it’s really very special.
All hands on deck to get the shop ready
The Co-op Property colleagues we’ve been working with were there to help us to set up the shop ahead of opening day. With around 50,000 sq ft to fill, getting all the stock in was no mean feat. We’re only a small charity, so having all those people there to help made a real difference.