Preston’s free book shop set to expand

Kirit and Meena Patel at the Stuff For Free shop in the Fishergate Centre, Preston
Kirit and Meena Patel at the Stuff For Free shop in the Fishergate Centre, Preston
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A free book shop has been so successful that it is expanding it’s premises.

The Books for Free unit at the former TJ Hughes site in the Fishergate Centre, Preston, “re-homed” 17,000 books in 30 days and now the ground floor space will be opened up to community groups.

Meena Patel, the North West regional representative for the Healthy Planet charity which aims to protect the environment by saving unsold books from entering landfill, said: “The response has been brilliant. Based on the 30 days we were first open we have rehomed 17,000 books.”

Meena continued:“We wanted to open the second floor to the community and the public to show them what is on offer and we want it to be a space that the community can use to meet up.”

However, the move isn’t good news for everyone. It comes just a week after the Book Clearance Centre, one of the longest-serving businesses in the Fishergate Centre, announced it was closing after 23 years because it could not compete with the shop.

Alongside Books for Free, Meena is also running Stuff for Free from the unit with the help of a team of volunteers. She said: “Stuff for Free is a further initiative for people to donate and take quality items. By putting the stuff on show we are showing the type of items that we want the community to save from landfill.”

Meena added: “Currently the store has DVDs, videos, toys, unwanted gifts, belts, scarves - the list is endless. Once we get downstairs up and running we’ll be able to take on furniture and electrical goods.”

The shop is open between 12pm and 3pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and 
Friday.