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A charity shop at a Leicester recycling centre has raised thousands of pounds to support local older people since opening to the public in January. 

Over the last three months, the Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland ‘Reuse Shop’ at the city council’s Gypsum Close recycling site has sold items that might otherwise have been processed for recycling or gone to landfill, including clothing, small furniture items and bric-a-brac.

Picture: Leicester City Council

People dropping off items for recycling are popping into the on-site shop to donate their unwanted items – from everyday things, to objects that are a bit more unusual. 

The treasure trove of donations has so far included an accordion, some vintage dolls’ house furniture, a folding bike, bongo drums and a 4ft-tall cuddly giraffe.

Tony Donovan, executive director of Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, said: “We’re delighted with how things have gone during our first three months.

“We’ve got some brilliant volunteers, who do a great job sorting through the donations, and we have lots of regular customers, who are pleased to find a bargain.  

“As we mark our 70th anniversary, we look forward to continuing our important work in the decades to come. All the funds raised locally stay locally, and we would like to thank all our volunteers, donors and customers, whose generosity helps us to continue to support older people throughout Leicester and Leicestershire.”

Building works – which have hampered access to the Reuse Shop since it reopened in January – are now complete, and the refurbished premises now offer an expanded shop floor and a new workshop, as well as areas for receiving and sorting donations.

As part of its investment in the site, the city council has also created 10 parking spaces, making it easy for people to drop off items in good condition for re-sale, or to pop in to browse the displays.

Deputy city mayor responsible for the environment, Cllr Adam Clarke, who will visit the Reuse Shop tomorrow (Thursday, May 12), said: “While building works have been under way, access to the shop has been restricted, but I’m pleased to say that the scheme is now complete and the site is now clean, tidy and ready to welcome visitors.

“The Reuse Shop complements our recycling activity, and it’s very encouraging to see how many people are making use of it.

“Passing something on that you don’t want, so that it can be re-used by someone else, is the best form of recycling – and in this instance it’s also helping to raise funds for a charity that does so much valuable work in Leicester.”

The Reuse Shop is grateful for all donations of clean, saleable items, including small electrical items in working condition.

The shop is open from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, and from 8.30am to 6pm at weekends. It’s located at the Gypsum Close Recycling Centre in Hamilton.