This week saw the dawn of a new era for one of Lisburn’s long-established charity shops.
War on Want at Bon Accord Terrace in the city centre reopened its doors on Monday after a complete refurbishment.
The Lisburn store, one of the first charity shops to open in the area 43 years ago, had remained virtually unchanged over the last four decades.
However, shop manager Gerard Magee and his team of volunteers have worked to see the shop completely renovated.
“I am absolutely delighted with how it has gone,” said Gerard.
“When I came on board five months ago we sat down with the volunteers and decided what we felt was needed in the shop.
“The idea was to try to bring it more up to date and to make the job easier for the volunteers as well.
“I am very happy with how it looks now but none of it would have happened without the volunteers. The volunteers look at it as their shop and rightly so.”
One such volunteer, Nicki, said volunteering in the shop had given her a new lease of life and helped her to build confidence.
She was delighted, she said, with the look of the new store andhoped it would attract even more customers to help the charity with its work.
“The refurbishment has really lifted everything,” she said.
“It makes it easier to clean and look after as well. There is much more space and we can get more stock out.
“Over the last year we have seen new customers and a broad range of ages coming into the shop, especially students and young people.
“We have some beautiful things and hopefully the revamp will encourage even more people to visit the shop.”
War on Want NI works in two countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Malawi the charity works in the poorest regions in the south of the country, Machinga, Balaka and Zomba, and in Teso in north east Uganda.
It also works with the poorest and most vulnerable people in Uganda and Malawi. In most cases War on Want is the only organisation supporting those communities.
In 2014-2015 War on Want NI projects have reached more than 150,000 people. For further information on War on Want, log onto www.waronwantni.org.
The Charity is always keen to recruit new volunteers to help to staff the Lisburn shop, and is particularly keen to hear from young people who would like to volunteer. To find out more about volunteering, call into the shop or contact the charity’s head office on 028 9023 2064.