A CHARITY supporting people with autism is to open its first charity shop in Fareham, filling the space left by a closed fancy dress shop.
Autism Hampshire, founded by parents of children with autism in Southampton in the 1960s, will open its first shop in the unit previously occupied by Razzamatazz, in Osborn Road South, off West Street, Fareham.
The charity provides training, home care, and support living services across Gosport, Fareham, and Southampton.
Kerry Houghton, business development manager, said the space will also be a community hub, hosting events on weekday evenings.
She said: ‘We want it to be more than a shop. We want it to be a way to find out about our services and for it to act as a community space.
‘We plan to have activities like skills training and meetings for parents with children on the autistic spectrum.’
The shop is looking to recruit a charity shop manager on a salary of up to £21,000 per year, with applications being accepted until Wednesday.
Between 15 and 20 volunteers are needed to staff the shop, and the charity is hoping to receive applications from individuals on the autistic spectrum, according to the business manager.
She added: ‘Volunteering is open to everyone, and we would still find a role for anyone who is interested in volunteering once we reach our target.’
The shop is accepting donations for ‘good quality’ men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, jewellery, and bags. Also accepted are any donations of books, crockery, and DVDs/CDs, as well as paintings and ornaments.
The site was a Razzamatazz shop for 30 year, before it closed in February.
Speaking to The News earlier this year owner Neil Croucher, 50, said: ‘When we bought Razzamatazz the primary business was fancy dress but the market has now gone online to the likes of Amazon and eBay and to the big supermarkets.
‘As a small business we can’t compete. The footfall has dropped. It is very sad as the business has been going for 30 years.’
Razzamatazz continues to operate as an events and venue stylist business.
The Autism Hampshire charity shop is due to open before Christmas, with a date to be confirmed over the next two weeks.