A stalwart of the Warrington high street, Michael Hancock, was given the honour of officially re-opening two Care UK stores at the Cockhedge Shopping Park, as a thank you for his support of the charity.
Mr Hanock, who runs family Business Hancock & Wood on Bridge Street, has been helping advise the Care UK charity founded by Appleton Thorn based Nora Carlin, who responded after seeing the pictures of little Aylun Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach in September 2015.
Since then the charity has grown considerably across the North West with over 200 volunteers, and two stores at Cockhedge, also helping people closer to home.
Care UK CEO and founder Nora explained:” The clothing shop, our 3-2-1store has everything for £3 or under. It has been closed for refurbishment and expansion of the shop floor area. We have been shut for 5 weeks and hope that people can see how much bigger and brighter it is. There is a children’s area within the store which includes books and toys but also a very affordable school uniform, 4 items for £1 to help families whose budgets are already stretched.”
The premises are managed by Rose Sharpe and her team of mainly volunteers who have worked hard to empty the store, set up temporarily in the Home Store, then restock the refurbished store. Nora added: “They are very happy to be back in their own ‘home’ again.”
The store initially opened in 2016 so is also celebrating 5 years of trading and 6 years since the charity started in September 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Meanwhile, The Home Store, formerly CLIC and TK MAXX has furniture and houseware and is managed by Louisa Whitehead, who has also been working with the Afghan refugees brought into hotels in Cheshire and the Northwest, taking them clothing and hygiene items as required.
The Home store re-opened on April 12th but was not celebrated at the time due to the COVID restrictions.
Nora added: “Our Aid logistics manager, Sarah Jane Williams, is leading a team who are completely furnishing homes in Cheshire East for the Afghan families which includes all furnishings, all the white goods, curtains, beds made, fridge, freezer and cupboards full of food ready for the families to walk in. Two homes have been completed so far with another seven or so to go. We are desperately seeking good quality furniture to set up these homes and welcome the Afghans into the UK.”
The Home Store is not only a retail outlet but also houses a large sorting centre, upstairs, and all the household items for the charity to help local families setting up home.
“We help over 300 individuals and families each year,” added Nora.
The Homes Team is led by Janet Stott, a retired GP. Janet and her team have been assisting Sarah Jane Williams in the set up of the Afghan homes.
They take items that people no longer need and either pass them on directly or sell them to raise funds to continue their work.
Nora added: “We are very grateful for the support and advice from Michael Hancock of Hancock & Wood, a family-run store in Warrington for over 100 years, that is a lot of retail experience they are sharing with us. Michael opening the store was most welcome and appropriate in their support for the CARE UK Charity.”