County children’s hospice Rainbows is opening a new charity shop in Market Harborough tomorrow (Friday).
The Loughborough-based hospice, which cares for youngsters from across the East Midlands with life-limiting or terminal illnesses, is opening its new premises at 4 Coventry Road, the former home of Expressions Framing and Gallery.
The charity used to have a shop in St Mary’s Place, Harborough, from 1998 to 2005 and then briefly at Bindley’s Yard in town until October 2006, but it was forced to close down due to rent rises.
To celebrate its return to Harborough, snooker personality Willie Thorne will be officially opening the new shop tomorrow at 10.30am.
The Rainbows mascot Bow Bear will also be joining in the celebrations and shoppers can enjoy refreshments and cupcakes.
When the Harborough shop closed in 2006 it was the last one remaining in the county but now the charity has three other outlets in Melton and Blaby in Leicestershire and Matlock in Derbyshire.
Karen Bilsby, head of retail at Rainbows, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to open our fourth shop. Market Harborough has a fantastic community spirit and we are very excited to be here.
“We used to have a shop in the town but unfortunately due to the economic climate, we had to close. We are now delighted to be back and we hope that people will join us at our open celebrations and continue to support us in the future.”
Willie, who is a patron of the charity, added: “It is great to see a Rainbows shop in Market Harborough and I am thrilled to be opening it.
“I hope that people in the town come along and support the vital work that Rainbows carries out for children and young people across the East Midlands.”
To help keep stock replenished, the charity is now on the look-out for donations of clothing, toys, games, bric-a-brac and books to sell in the shop.
Selling clothes worth £10 could help to fund two days’ worth of oxygen for a child, £25 could help fund one hour of physiotherapy, and donating clothes worth £50 could go towards one day of care for a child or young person, the charity said.
The Harborough shop would not be able to run without the support of volunteers and Rainbows needs about 25 volunteers for each of its shops.
To recruit volunteers, the charity held a Volunteer Day at Harborough Theatre yesterday from 1pm to 5.30pm.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about volunteering can contact Paul Holden by phoning 01509 638059.
For more information about Rainbows shops, visit www.rainbows.co.uk/shops.
The Expressions shop where Rainbows is moving into to was formerly run by Malcom Lever-Jones in Harborough for more than 30 years before he retired in autumn last year.
Story by Alex Blackwell.