Community support earns reprieve for Carrickfergus shop faced with closure

The Age NI shop in Carrick.
The Age NI shop in Carrick.

A display of people power has help prevent the loss of a Carrickfergus town centre charity shop.

Following local interventions, Age NI Enterprises Board has announced its decision to keep its West Street shop open so as to re-assess its long term viability.

The u-turn follows representations and an outpouring of support on social media - including an online petition - for the outlet.

Pointing to tough trading conditions and location, Age NI had previously deemed the store ‘untenable’ and earmarked for closure by the end of this month with two redundancies.

Staff and volunteers who work in the shop want to galvanise public support over the next six months to ensure the shop not only survives now but thrives in the future.

Brian Loughridge, commercial director, said: “It’s clear that people want the Age NI shop to remain open but this will only materialise with the support of local people buying from and donating to the shop.

“Everyone is welcome to come in and grab a bargain and/or donate their pre-loved goods to support a great cause.

“We require good-quality clothing, furniture, clothes, homeware, books, jewellery, toys, CDs and DVDs, bric-a-brac, curtains, linens and other home furnishings accessories and textiles in our local shop.

“We can also accept rags as donations, as we recycle textiles. There isn’t much that’s not valuable to us, as we are expert recyclers.”

Age NI pointed out that for every bag of clothing donated in store it raises £11.

Mr Loughridge continued: “If members of the public also complete Gift Aid form in store we can claim an additional 25% extra tax relief which turns this donation value from £11 into £13.75. That extra £2.75 doesn’t cost the public a penny and helps us raise more valuable funds to support Age NI’s vital service delivery across Northern Ireland.

“We are therefore calling on the local Carrickfergus community to get behind the local shop and support it. We would encourage members of the public to call into the Age NI Carrickfergus shop today and pick up a collection bag to fill.

“Donations can be dropped off easily at West Street which is pedestrianised but allows vehicle access during shop opening times (Monday-Saturday 9am - 4.45pm).”