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High five for helping hands
Wednesday 31st January 2018 @ 00:28 by Nigel Skinner
Hyde News Tameside

Crowds flocked to 57 Market Street in Hyde at the weekend to help celebrate the Helping Hand Charity Shop’s fifth anniversary.

The shop’s staff and army of volunteers welcomed shoppers and special guests, including Tameside’s civic dignitaries, clergy, media representatives and members of the community, as they filled the shop.

The Tameside Radio Outside Broadcast team were also at the event to report live on Saturday on 103.6FM and find out more about the charity and its good works.

Mayor of Tameside, Cllr Joyce Bowerman, said it was an honour to welcome the many visitors and shoppers as they tucked into the free refreshments which offered a mouth-watering spread of homemade cakes and delicacies that had been made by the ‘Helping Hand’ volunteers.

During her speech, the Mayor said that she and her consort Fred Bowerman were delighted to share the special day with all the volunteers who give of their time freely to make the charity enterprise a success.

She went on to explain that the ‘Helping Hand’ Charity Shop is not just another regular ‘me too’ charity shop, but one that also offers a learning hub and training facility to many of the borough’s jobseekers, who are recommended by the charity’s working partnership with Job Centre Plus.

She said the enterprise had not only been set up to offer a fantastic range of clothing and accessories, alongside a wide range of novelty gifts, books, and games, but also had been set up as a way of giving people the chance to learn new skills through work experience, many of whom go on into other placements, with many gaining full time employment.

To date more than 170 people have received such training, she reported.

“Currently there are at least 45 people involved in running the shop,” she added.

“There’s a lot of love in this shop,” she said, stating that volunteers were the ‘lifeblood of the organisation’.

“The Helping Hand is unique in the north west for delivering free retail training courses to a large number of candidates from a variety of organisations and more than 20 people have moved onto employment following completion of the retail development course,” she said.

ANNIVERSARY LANDMARK: The Mayor joins MP Andrew Gwynne and Harvey Beeley.

Helping Hand has also been working with local schools to provide pupils with mock interviews.

MP Andrew Gwynne praised the charity shop, paying testament to all the volunteers who helped out at the Methodist churches across Denton and Hyde.

“The fact we are able to come here five years on and celebrate what a success it has been is absolutely great,” he said, “and long may this organisation prosper and continue to do good work across the borough of Tameside.”

He also pointed to the benefits of the training and upskilling the project provides for the local community.

The Hyde shop, which is in a prime spot on Market Street, has a striking window display and its contemporary interior, although small, manages to create an outstanding charity shopping experience.

Harvey Beeley, speaking on behalf of the ‘Helping Hand’ charity said: “When we opened our doors five years ago, we were thrilled and delighted to receive such a warm welcome from the local community of Hyde and visitors from the surrounding towns in the borough, many of whom have now become loyal supporters of our charity.

“Today, on our fifth anniversary we were very privileged to welcome our special guests, local MPs Jonathan Reynolds together with Andrew Gwynne and his good lady wife, members of the local clergy and The Worshipful The Mayor of Tameside, Councillor Joyce Bowerman and her consort, who were all there to help us celebrate and highlight how important our shops are in generating income for the Methodist Church charity.”

The ‘Helping Hand’ Charity Shop are always in need of more donations of pre-loved clothing, homewares’ toys and games, books, musical items, bric-a-brac and household accessories, and is one of the few local charity shops to accept electrical items, as they boast their own PAT test qualified helper.

To keep the shop well stocked, donations can be dropped off.

If you are interested in joining their retail volunteer team, please contact: 0161 637 5152.

ON AIR: The Mayor is interviewed by Tameside Radio’s Outside Broadcast team live on 103.6FM.