A LINGERIE shop owner has launched an initiative in a bid to give domestic abuse victims and rough sleepers their confidence back.

Laura Parsons, the founder of Zamelia Lingerie in Cricklade Road, is in talks with charities across Swindon to offer women free services and bras.

Named after her two daughters Zara and Amelia, Laura opened her shop in February, a month before the coronavirus lockdown.

She said: “After 10 years of wanting to open my own shop I decided to make it happen earlier this year and because of the pandemic we had to close a month later.

“It’s really important for women to have the right sized bra on and it’s a massive thing for our self-esteem, confidence and health.

“We have a donation bank inside the shop and we give those bras to women in Africa but I’ve been wanting to help women in Swindon for a while now. A customer of mine came in one day and I was talking to her about it and she said she was a victim of domestic abuse and she would have appreciated the idea because in women’s refuges you just have to take whatever is there. I thought it was a great idea and now I’m talking to charities to try and make it happen.”

Laura is in talks with Swindon homeless charity Threshold, The Nelson Trust, which helps people recover from addiction and trauma, and Swindon Women’s Aid.

“It’s such a rewarding thing to do to give people their self-esteem back,” she said.

“I want to help vulnerable women and anyone who just needs a perfectly fitted bra. I’ve had someone come in before with two bras on because she couldn’t get a size big enough. And I’ve had someone else come in who was being looked after by a women’s refuge and she had three bra strap extenders on because she couldn’t get one in her size.

“Hearing these things is absolutely shocking, it shouldn’t be happening. In this day and age there’s no need for it and so I’m trying to raise awareness and do something about it to help these women.”

Zamelia stocks sizes from 28AA right up to 46K – and will make sizes bigger if needed.

They will be offering free fitting measurements for these women and will be giving out bras.

But the shop is looking for more donations from people who have bras they no longer wear or even any with labels still on which have never been worn.

These can be handed in at the store in Cricklade Road, which can be contacted at www.facebook.com/zameliaswindon