On December 3rd 2013 the Archbishop of Wales opened a charity shop set up by churches to support people in debt.
The Storehouse Community Shop is the first charity shop in Aberkenfig and will be run by eight local churches. It aims to raise about £600 a week which will go towards setting up a Christians Against Poverty debt centre and also local causes.
The shop employs a manager and a deputy manager part-time who are helped by about 20 volunteers from the churches. It sells good quality second-hard clothes, books and CDs.
Cutting the ribbon to open the shop, the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “This shop is an excellent example of Christianity in action – people working together to respond to a need and help others in their community. It will provide a service by selling second-hard items and the money raised will all go to helping others, particularly those among us who are facing increasing financial hardship and struggling with debt.”
Revd Stephen Pare, priest-in-charge of Aberkenfig, said the shop, on Bridgend Road, was the idea of church leaders from a variety of traditions in the community. He said, “It’s the result of nearly two years of regular, weekly-united prayer meetings. Our aim is to provide a service for the community – we talked to people and found out that they wanted a second-hand shop as there isn’t one at all in Aberkenfig. There was also a need to help people facing debt. So we hope this shop will raise about £6,000 to set up a debt centre. The charity, Christians Against Poverty, supports those in debt, helping some 20-50 families a week become debt-free.
“None of the money the Storehouse raises will assist the running costs of the churches and chapels – it will all go to the community.”
The Revd Chris Gray, Assistant Chair of the Methodist Synod, cut the cake to mark the occasion.
Rev’d Gordon Sollis, minister of nearby Tondu Wesley Methodist Church said that the idea for the shop arose out of the regular weekly meetings that local church leaders had been sharing in over the last two years. “We became aware of the impact of the current economic climate on our community and felt we had to do something in response. The shop will provide a service in itself but also create an income to enable us to buy in debt-management services from the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) organisation. CAP also enables local people to be trained to run courses giving people the skills that they need to prevent them getting into debt in the first place.”
Tondu Wesley Methodist Church is nearly at the end of a refurbishment programme that will provide community facilities. Rev’d Sollis said that he saw these two projects as complementary.
“Our new facilities will be an ideal place for the money management courses.
RELATE, the organisation that helps people with their close relationships, have been using our premises for three years already and are eager to move into the Wesley Centre when the work is completed early in the New Year.”
The churches supporting it are: Aberkenfig Bible Church; Aberkenfig Church of God; Wesley Methodist, Tondu; Nazareth Baptist Church, Bryncethin; St Roberts Roman Catholic Church, Aberkenfig; Smyrna Baptist Church, Penyfa;, The Parish of All Saints Penyfai; and the Parish of Llansantffraid, Bettws and Aberkenfig.
The shop is open Monday -Thursday 10am -4pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm.
The photograph shows Mr Tony Jones, Senior Elder of Aberkenfig Church of God; Rev Stephen Pare, Vicar of Aberkenfig; Rev Gordon Sollis, Superintendent Minister of the Bridgend United Area; and Pastor Paul Homans of Aberkenfig Bible Church. Sadly, Father John Meredith, Priest of St Roberts Roman Catholic Church, who had been closely involved in establishing the Charity Shop, died just before the photograph was taken.