Animal shelter sets up its first charity store

College in running for top national awards

An animal shelter is opening its first-ever shop to help cover its mounting costs.

Staff are currently busy fitting out the shop for the Stubbington Ark in West Street, Fareham, ahead of its opening at 10am on Monday.

The Ark needs to raise more than 1m a year to keep the hundreds of animals which pass through its doors each year safe and well before they can be rehomed.

Although the shelter, in Ranvilles Lane, Stubbington, is part of the RSPCA it receives no funding from the charity's central office - all its money must be raised independently.

Shop manager Helen Wheeler said she was confident it would succeed despite it being surrounded by several other charity shops in the town centre.

'We have got to get this right, but I am passionate about this - it's a vocation for me, not just a job,' she said.

'We are going to be very competitively-priced.

'We have a wonderful ambience to the shop and we are going to offer a friendly service.

'I don't look at the other shops as competition as such, I'm here for a purpose, and that is to help the Ark.

'The money raised from the shop will only be going to the Ark.'

The Ark's shop is now looking for more stock to fill the shelves to make sure the new store is a success.

Helen said: 'I have had a tremendous response from volunteers - being an animal charity and with people's love of animals, that side of things has been going very well.

'But we do need more donations - quality clothing, children's toys in particular, DVDs and good paperback books.'

Penny Lynch has been a trustee of the Ark for more than 20 years.

She said: 'The reason we've decided to open a shop now is that we need more funds.

'We have just built a new veterinary unit which is absolutely amazing, and we've got 41 staff at the moment, but the cost of running it all is 3,000 a day.'

The shop will be open 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

To make a donation call (01329) 285949.

Or you can take it, or any items, to the shop at 133 West Street.

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