Diocese of Carlisle’s charity OpShop network expands in Cumbria

The Diocese of Carlisle’s network of charity OpShops is set to expand with a sixth outlet opening in Penrith.

Jon Greenwood, OpShop Business Development Manager, and manager Kate Clement are pictured outside the new Penrith OpShop.Work is nearing completion on the new store which is in the town’s Angel Lane and which will be open for business within a fortnight.

With five other OpShops around Carlisle, the Penrith shop will be the not-for-profit charity’s first town centre venture.

The newly-appointed manager is Kate Clement, who was previously a social worker supporting deaf people and who is married to the Diocesan Director of Ordination and Vocations Development Officer, the Rev’d Peter Clement.

Kate said: “The OpShop is much more than just another charity shop. It represents a commitment to people in Penrith and a way to link in with people.

“As well as the goods which will be for sale, we will also be offering tea and coffee to people and we will look eventually at opening up a comfortable area on the first floor where we could create an IT hub to help people with technology skills.”

The first OpShop was set up in 1991 by St James Church in Carlisle before the diocese – the Church of England in Cumbria – set up further OpShops from 2009, with the network now expanding to six shops with the Penrith opening.

The shops sell good quality second-hand goods. They provide a Christian presence and opportunities for people to volunteer and find a pathway back to employment.

Donations can be dropped off in-store or larger items can be collected by a dedicated household collection team which works out of the OpShop’s warehouse based in Carlisle.

Jon Greenwood, the business development manager for the OpShops network, said: “This is a really exciting moment for us as the Penrith shop is our first try at a true town centre shop.

“I think we will see a much wider range of people visiting the shop. There is a real sense of people who live in this area committing to Penrith town centre. It is wonderful to be a part of that.”

Meanwhile the network has also launched a promotional campaign with leaflets set to be distributed in the county’s ecumenical newspaper The Way. A promotional film has also been uploaded to the Diocese of Carlisle’s Youtube channel and will be made available to all parishes in the diocese to further promotion.

Jon added: “We’re particularly looking for more Christians to draw alongside us, to help disciple folk and to be that listening ear and to offer practical help for people without judgement.

“We are always looking to boost donations and perhaps there are people out there with administrative, IT and fundraising skills who would be willing to help us.”

The Penrith OpShop will be officially opened at 12 noon on Monday 21 March.

Any offers of help should be directed to Jon Greenwood at enquiries@opshops.co.uk or on 07523 778723.

Notes for editors
The projected turnover for OpShops for 2016 is £200,000, with 300 sales each day and 75 tonnes of goods resold each year.

The network of OpShops are open 220 hours a week and there are 61 active volunteers.

For more information on the OpShops network visit www.opshops.co.uk.

The Diocese’s promotional film about the work of the OpShops can be viewed on its YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXM5M-lWFSY.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.