Sec­ond-hand shop to act as ‘clothes­bank’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Helping Others - By Ai­dan Bar­low

Vol­un­teers say they have been guided by their dreams after tak­ing over an empty town cen­tre shop to help hard-up fam­i­lies with clothes shop­ping.

Ash­ford Vine­yard Church pas­tor Nic Kim­mance and vol­un­teer Becca Green have opened The Bee­hive at the en­trance to the Church Yard in the town as part of their Thou­sand Hours scheme.

The shop has been de­scribed as a “clothes­bank” and will op­er­ate with a re­fer­ral sys­tem in a sim­i­lar way to food­banks.

It will also be a sec­ond-hand clothes shop for the pub­lic along with a cafe, and a space for life skills classes.

Ms Green said it has al­ways been her dream to run her own busi­ness while look­ing out for oth­ers in the com­mu­nity, and said her am­bi­tion went hand-in­hand with Ms Kim­mance’s.

She said: “I re­ally care about the com­mu­nity and build­ing up the re­la­tion­ship with peo­ple. We are help­ing peo­ple in need.

“It started with Nic hav­ing an ac­tual dream about opening a clothes shop, and we found that this paired up re­ally well with my aim for run­ning a busi­ness, and we de­cided to get the shop open by Oc­to­ber.

“We hope it makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence in Ash­ford to women who come here. As a church we have of­fered clothes for women and chil­dren who need it from our store­house via so­cial me­dia.

“But the shop al­lows the women to come in and browse and to choose what they want with­out wor­ry­ing about what they might be able to af­ford.”

The shop, which opened on Mon­day, has al­ready sup­ported women who have been re­ferred.

Ms Kim­mance said: “We know there is a lot of shame in­volved in ac­cept­ing help, but we wanted to make the process more em­pow­er­ing by al­low­ing those re­ferred to us to do the shop­ping them­selves with­out oth­ers know­ing they are re­ceiv­ing help.”

Becca Green has helped open The Bee­hive shop in Ash­ford High Street along with oth­ers from Ash­ford Vine­yard church

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