Long standing Preston charity shop is facing closure

HAPPY DAYS: Volunteers with former Mayor Veronica Afrin after raising �1m last year
HAPPY DAYS: Volunteers with former Mayor Veronica Afrin after raising �1m last year
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One of Preston’s oldest charity shops is at risk of closure just a year after it celebrated raising £1m.

The Rwanda Group Trust, set up to help poor families in the East African republic rebuild their lives after the genocide of the mid-1990s, admits it is struggling to find volunteers.

The shop, in Syke Street, Avenham, has been trading for more than 15 years and has helped thousands of Rwandans with food, education, health and shelter.

But the trust is now looking for help itself after warning the doors could close for good in the New Year if more staff are not recruited.

“We are desperately short of volunteers,” said John Poulton who runs the shop. “We would be so grateful for anyone who can spare three hours in the morning or afternoon, any day of the week.”

The trust held a crisis 
meeting recently after staff illness meant the shop was forced to shut on a number of half days. Now members say the venture is facing full-time closure unless more assistants can be found.

One of the regular 
volunteers, Aileen Toole, 79, said: “When you see the great work the charity does in 
Rwanda, it is desperately sad to think that those projects might have to end.

“They are the people in the most need and they rely on us raising this money.”

The trust was founded in the late 1990s by Joe and 
Rosemary Bamber.

Chairman Joe said: “We have had a lot of good people helping us over the 15 or so years and we have managed to raise quite a bit of money for the people of Rwanda.

“It would be very upsetting if the shop had to close down.”