The Gate in Swindon town Centre (near Iceland) is a new charity shop, being run by Dawn Prosser who also runs the Gateway Furniture Project with her husband Kevin. (gatewaychurchswindon.org.uk/gateway-furniture). The building is shared with Healthy Planet (healthyplanet.org), an organisation that gives books away for free to save them from landfill.
It's much more than a charity shop though. It's set out really well. On the ground floor are the free books (you can take three at a time) and some furniture for sale, as well as adult clothes and shoes. Upstairs is a well thought-out baby/toddler play area as well as children's books and toys. There is also a cafe area, where you can have free tea or coffee. Yes, free!
It's a welcoming place and the volunteers are always friendly and ready to chat. Currently there are 17 volunteers who help out, but more are needed. If you don't have much spare time but can bake, why not bake some cakes for the shop? Please contact Dawn if you can help.
All sorts of people from different backgrounds use the shop and it serves the community of Swindon well. There is a steady stream of people visiting throughout the day. When I called in there were clients of many different ages and backgrounds - from mums with babies looking forward to putting their feet up with a free cuppa to pensioners looking for a bargain or a free book.
Dawn has had the opportunity to pray for someone almost every day, and a few people are planning to visit Gateway Church after their trip to The Gate.
Children in Need is on Friday 15 November and The Gate will be hosting a Pudsey-themed cake competition: bake and decorate a cake and have it judged between 10:00-11:00 on the day. Entry forms are available from the shop as well as Gateway Church. There is an entrance fee of £2 - all proceeds to Children in Need. There will also be a Pudsey photo booth (£1 per go) with local photographer Sabine Coe.
Or come along on Saturday 16 November for more Children in Need fun. You can take part in the live cupcake decorating competition at 12:00.
Dawn is looking for a face-painter (or anyone who can offer some silly skills) to volunteer on Saturday- please contact her if you can help.
It's great to see somewhere that's focussed on community and is caring so well for the people of Swindon. Opening times are Monday, Thursday and Friday 10-3pm and Saturday 10-1pm.