WHILE many high street retailers announce shop closures across the country, the children’s charity Barnardo’s Cymru is investing in a new store in the centre of Wrexham.

The children’s charity has taken advantage of the easing of lockdown to open a new pop up shop in Eagles Meadow and will welcome its first customers today (Wednesday, July 15).

David Longmore, the charity’s retail director, said: “We committed to the store before lockdown and we are delighted that we can now open our doors for the first time in Wrexham.

“We have 700 shops across the UK and they are hugely important to funding Barnardo’s services which support vulnerable children and families in many different ways.

The Leader:

Putting the finishing touches to the toy shelves at the new Barnardo's store in Eagles Meadow

"Having them closed for three months has had a significant impact on our ability to raise funds for those services.

“At the same time, the effects of the pandemic mean the demand for our services is at its greatest in recent years, so we are keen to reopen our stores as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“Many customers have been contacting us while we have been closed wanting to support us by donating or shopping with us, knowing that it can help change lives.”

The Eagles Meadow store manager is Portia-Hope Kitney, who began at the Barnardo’s Wrexham Distribution Centre when she was just 15.

She said: “I went there on work experience and just loved it. I stayed on during the holidays and over the years I’ve gradually increased my hours. I jumped at the chance to have my own store.

“It’s a big space, close to 10,000 square feet, and I have a team of three store associates and a couple of volunteers who are over the moon to be finally opening.

"We are also really keen to recruit more volunteers and anyone who is interested can just call in for a chat.”

Prices at the new store start at just 50p for items of children clothing with many items of adult clothing priced at £1 to £3. Used toys start at 50p and new ones around £3.

“We have a grab bag of Barbie dolls for £1 and clothing bargains such as a £35 Marks and Spencer dress for £3 so our prices are really cheap," added Portia. "We also have a big family hamper for the opening and everyone who spends £25 or more gets a free raffle ticket."

Like other stores Barnardo’s Cymru has introduced safety measures including hand sanitizers and limits on the number of shoppers allowed through the doors at one time.

Because so many people have used lockdown as an opportunity to have a clear-out, the charity is suggesting potential donors ring ahead to check their local store has the capacity to accept donations.

All donations are then quarantined before being sorted.