A POP-UP store where no money changes hands is poised to mark its first year of trading on Saturday.
From small beginnings a year ago, the Free Shop at Savernake Street Social Hall now welcomes 200 people each month and has proved a popular resource, not only to reduce waste but promote recycling in Swindon since it launched last spring.
The community initiative was started by Jon Timbrell and Rachel Rance and is based on a simple concept.
Customers are invited to hand over unwanted clothes, books, DVDs and other knick knacks, exchange them or just pick up new ones at the Free Shop, which is held on the first Saturday of every month.
The aim is to promote reusing and recycling and reduce waste in a friendly community environment.
Rachel, who introduced the Free Shop to Swindon after piloting a similar initiative in Bath along with Jon, said: “Free Shop has grown hugely in the past year.
“We started with a couple of tables of items, and this has now grown to a room full each time we hold the event. It’s helping to prevent unwanted items from going into landfill, which is brilliant.”
The pair approached Eastcott Community Organisation which helped them use of the hall.
Caroline Davies-Khan, of ECO, said: “We are really pleased with the level of interest that Free Shop has generated.
“It is a fantastic community initiative. Lots of people have said to us what an excellent idea it is.
“The turnover of items is very fast, and you can find something new each time.
“It’s a great opportunity to get together as a community and to save money by getting some pre-loved items for free.
“It is also an excellent example of what we’d like to see happen at Savernake Street Social Hall under community management.”
The Free Shop is held between noon and 2pm on the first Saturday of each month. Organisers do not accept electrical items, nightwear, underwear, or large items.
The next Free Shop will be held on May 3.
For information about the shop or Savernake Street Social Hall, email firstname.lastname@example.org