Sue Norrington, trustee and member of the North Suffolk Area, has been involved with the i-Chameleon MU Pop Up Shop from the start. She writes:
Many of us have from time to time thought - why can’t MU go down the route of a charity shop like many other charities. It would be good for publicity, for fundraising for making MU more visible and more active - all good outcomes. For me, such a venture should also have a coffee shop where we can offer a warm space, a safe haven and a place of welcome. However - reality then clicks in and the complications of such a long term venture are many - and these put it out of our reach.
But in St Ed’s and Ips Diocese we have been able to do a Pop Up Shop. For one week each year we set up our shop with donated items and MUe stock. This year marked our sixth Pop Up Shop held in the market town of Halesworth. We are able to rent 'i-Chameleon', a shop in the Thoroughfare for £200 a week. It is a united effort to set up the shop and then each day is covered by a different branch in the North Suffolk Area. It is a wonderful opportunity to chat with our customers and to promote MU showing that it is active and relevant now just as it was in Mary Sumner’s day. Each year we have made about £1,400 and there have been very good sales of MUe cards in addition to this. Thanks to the generosity of our members we have a good quality selection of books, household items, pictures, fabrics, jewellery and other unusual items. At the end of the week, we keep a few items for future MU sales and the rest of the stock goes to other church and charity events. It is a busy week but well worth all the effort.
We can recommend this 'Pop Up Shop' idea as a more manageable way to run a charity shop for a short time. With so many empty shops in our towns it should be possible to negotiate a short term rental.