Lancaster opens first shop where everything is free

Walk down James Street in Lancaster, the alley behind Marks and Spencer, and you will notice activity in the former fishmongers next to Gregory’s, the butchers.

By Debbie Butler
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 12:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 2:01 pm

With its striking blue and yellow colour scheme, it looks like another charity shop, but it is, in fact, a drop in and pick up centre for donations of clothes, toys and toiletries for recently arrived Ukrainian families new to Lancaster and district.

Many refugees have left Ukraine with little more than a backpack and have few clothes. The children have left all their toys behind too.

Ukrainian refugee families are welcome to call in and pick up anything they need without charge, no money changes hands.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Lancaster Ukrainian Pop Up shop has opened in James Street.

As families were beginning to arrive, local resident Mandy Whitehouse organised a Clothing Drive to collect donated clothes on April 9 at Christ Church.

The response was overwhelming with so many clothes, toys and equipment being donated, storage was needed urgently and volunteers were grateful to Christ Church, The Ripple Effect in Morecambe and Caton Friends for Ukraine who offered storage.

A vacant unit in Marketgate was offered and volunteers decided to use it for a central donations and pick up point for the Ukrainian guests arriving in the district.

Hence the Lancaster Ukrainian Pop Up opened on Monday May 9 run by volunteers through the charity Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (Lancaster).

The hub will also host social activities including a Knot and Natter group starting next Monday.

The pop up team is very grateful to the people of Lancaster for their donations and the following businesses for support: Tin Box Angel, Marks and Spencer, Primark, Booths, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys, Aldi, Evans Marquee hire, Signs Express, Blankkeyrings, The Works, Munro-Greenhalgh Insurance, and Marketgate Centre Management and Housekeeping Team.

The hub is supported by Caton and Friends for Ukraine, Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (Lancaster), The City of Sanctuary, Global Link, RAIS, East meets West, Lancashire County Council Refugee Resettlement Team, Lancaster and Morecambe College, The Hygiene Bank, The Ripple Effect and Christ Church.

The team can be contacted at [email protected] or through its Facebook page Lancaster Hosting Ukrainians.

The hub is open 9-1pm Monday to Saturday and 9-5pm on Fridays.