South Leeds voluntary organisation St Luke’s Cares have taken another major step towards financial independence, launching their latest charity store – on Church Street, in the heart of Hunslet.
Last week’s grand opening saw friends and supporters of the organisation gather for a barbecue (run by youngsters from one of their programmes, the Involve Centre), music from local minstrel Johnny Walker, and – of course – the cutting of a ribbon. Special guests included employees of Beeston-based manufacturers De Puy – who have been working closely with the charity to support them over the past year, community leaders, and volunteers past and present from the growing St Luke’s Cares ‘family’.
St Luke’s Cares is a small but well-established local charity, delivering a range of youth and community projects around the area. These include: the SHINE project, working with vulnerable young women and girls; the Involve alternative education centre; the Hitbase community IT centre in Beeston; and youth programmes featuring young enterprise, dance, football, and much more. As previously reported in South Leeds Life, they’ve embarked on a mission to cut free from government and grant funding – by opening a string of charity shops, and ultimately paying their own way. This is their sixth store, as well as their social enterprise Nail Bar on Beeston Road.
New shop manager (and former volunteer) Graham Doherty said:
“We’re delighted to be part of the community here in Hunslet – with the Involve centre being here, and some of our regular youth work happening here too. Here in the shop, we’ve been given a really warm welcome by the customers, and it’s been pretty busy. We look forward to seeing even more people here in the coming weeks and months: we’re always looking for donations, volunteers, and of course shoppers!”
Local resident Ed Carlisle, who helped organise the launch, added:
“With the big non-local shops like the supermarkets and the chain stores, the vast majority of the money we spend leaves the community – it goes to pay faraway shareholders and executives. But with local independent businesses, our money stays in the community, which benefits us all. And even more so with local charity shops like St Luke’s Cares, the money we spend there is a direct investment in our own community. St Luke’s Cares is a great organisation, and – with our support – they can make an ever bigger impact here in south Leeds”.
The Hunslet shop is open 9-5pm Monday to Saturday. It stocks clothing, furniture, household goods, DVDs, CDs and computer games, books, toys, and more. They switch their stock with the other five stores in their business empire on a weekly basis, so there’s always something new. The other stores are on: Beeston Road, Dewsbury Road in Beeston, Throstle Lane in Middleton, Albion Street in Morley, and Harrogate Road in Chapel Allerton. They also run a Nail Bar, also on Beeston Road. As mentioned, donations, volunteers, and shoppers are always welcome – and the organisation also offers a house clearance service.