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Changing Lives protest to held find store new building


Oct 2, 2022

CUSTOMERS of a charity shop in Didcot held a peaceful protest to help the store find a new premise after being told to leave by the landlord.

The protest took place yesterday (October 01) outside Changing Lives, at the bottom of Broadway, which has to vacate at the end of month after 10 years due to asbestos in the building and structural issues with the roof.

The charity provides relief for those in need by making grants and donations to individuals and organisations through the profits earned in the shop.

Founder Valerie Prior had managed to find a new building only four doors down but the move fell through this move.

One of the signs held at the protest

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She is struggling to find another premise in the town which similar rent and similar size to the current location.

As a result, customer Carol Carpenter, who has lived in the town for 35 years, helped to organise the protest to help find a new building for the charity.

Herself and her husband Ed said the shop is a vital entity for people in the town.

People gathered outside holding signs for the slow passing traffic to read.

The signs read: “Help save Changing Lives”, “Do you have premises for Changing Lives to rent, even for a short time?”, and “Changing Lives needs new premises please help.”

Another sign had a list of all the charitable things the shop has done in the last few months including donations for homeless people and providing furniture to a domestic abuse victim.

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Customers outside Changing Lives

One customer, Sadie Bonner, said she’d ‘probably be 6ft under’ without the charity.

Speaking at the protest, she said: “First of all, the staff have got big hearts. They’re always there to support you whether it be mentally or physically.

“I’ve been coming her for 30 years and I find them to be so kind and supportive. They go above and beyond to help people.

“They’ve been so wonderful to everyone in this society. We would be lost without this shop and I cannot believe the council and other people in this town cannot support the shop and keep it open.

“There will be so many people heartbroken if the closure goes ahead.”

Chloe Prior, who works at the store, said it was ‘so lovely’ to see customers gathered together to try and help keep the store open.

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She said: “Bless their hearts. We hope the protest draws more attention to the situation and someone who can help will come forward and provide us with a little extra time to find a new premise.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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