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‘It’s 2024, nobody should be struggling’: Community shop which helps vulnerable residents at threat of closure

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Fairstead Community Shop helps the most vulnerable people in Lynn, but now it needs help itself to remain open and offer its vital support.The shop has been hit by rising energy bill costs and is at threat of closure if it doesn’t receive the help it urgently needs.Emma Brock, who runs the shop along with a team of volunteers, offers several services including providing school uniforms for children who need it, providing baby boxes to new mothers and listening to people’s concerns via their in-shop worry chair.

Fairstead Community Shop. Emma Brock on middle. Alistair wagg on left and Emma mcginn on right. Picture: SUBMITTED

The shop sells clothes, shoes and other items, but Emma has said that due to the cost of living crisis, less people have been making purchases.“People haven’t got the spare money, so they’re not coming in and spending,” Emma said.Fairstead Community shop opened six years ago and also helps those moving into their first home on the Fairstead estate by giving residents in need a tenancy box full of home essentials. Emma said: “The whole reason I’ve started this was for my mental health. I wanted to improve my mental health and I used to suffer quite badly with it.“We’ve also got a worry chair in the shop.“It means if any member of the public comes into the shop and sits in the chair, my staff know to go and make them a cup a tea or coffee and if they want to chat, they’ll chat to us. “Sometimes they just want to sit here and they don’t really say a lot. It might take them a couple of times to come in and open up, but it means we can signpost them to the right people who can help.”Each year, Fairstead Community Shop organises a day trip for families who cannot afford a holiday. A total of £1,000 is needed to make this summer’s trip happen, Emma is not sure yet if it can go ahead.“It would be great if we could later announce if we can actually do it. For a lot of families, that is the one thing they look forward to each year,” Emma added.“To me, I just want to help everybody and I don’t want to see anybody struggle, its 2024, nobody should be struggling.”There are several ways you can help Fairstead Community Shop, donations of clothes, shoes, baby items and rags are needed. Emma is also looking for more volunteers who can give up some free time to help out in the shop.A GoFundMe page has also been started where monetary donations can given to go towards the costs of running the shop as well as the summer holiday trip out.



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