Resurrection Furniture is Open
Resurrection Furniture has opened its doors and started trading, at last. A formal opening on 4th July, by Alton Mayor, Councillor Dean Phillips, marked the first day’s business at 24 High Street. Andrew Micklefield led a blessing on the enterprise and the event was attended by many of the volunteers who had all helped to make it possible.
Resurrection Furniture is being operated by a recently formed charity called Resurrection Trading. The charity has four trustees and has several main purposes. These are to raise money to support work with children and young people in the Parish of the Resurrection, and to maintain and improve the buildings that belong to the parish making them fit for purpose and helping them serve the local community even better. The business is also intended to help relieve hardship through gifts of furniture and to provide a Christian presence on the High Street with a place where friendship and support can be found, especially for the elderly and lonely. In the longer term, it is intended to help those who are hard to employ and contribute to other charitable purposes.
The idea for the shop has been stimulated by the monthly furniture sales, which have been going for over 30 years. A faithful group of workers have consistently raised money, mostly for church upkeep, over all that time. Pre-eminent amongst them is Gwen Mackrell, who ran the monthly sales for many years and is still a leader in the organisation, raising around £10,000 each year. With her is a small army of volunteers, represented at the Grand Opening by Lesley Wilson. The monthly sales are a fixture in the community, and will continue to be held on the first Saturday of each month at the Parish Centre.
The trustees of the charity have appointed the shop manager, Michelle Franklin-Hay, who started work on 11th June. She has experience in retail and furniture recycling, having worked as Deputy Manager at Unique Chique. She also has knowledge of interior design and up-cycling techniques and brings a passion to make this venture succeed. Her daughter, Georgia Hay, who recently graduated in graphic art and design at the University of Brighton, designed the shop logo.
The conversion of the shop for opening was carried out in just over two weeks, entirely by volunteers. The highly competent workforce of Alton Men’s Shed, led by Ian Scott, converted part of the shop and designed and made the wall display panels. A team of over 20 members of the parish undertook electrical work, carpentry, plastering, applying over 100 litres of paint, cleaning and then bringing in the furniture. Others have loaned equipment, served drinks, made cakes or just dropped in to encourage the workers.
There is also a group of 60 parish members have been praying regularly for the venture. Their prayers are concentrating on making this a successful and profitable commercial enterprise, as well as giving the parish a presence on the High Street. In the first few weeks trading, the shop has been hitting its initial income targets of over £1,000 per week and the prayers are working in all sorts of ways!
The shop needs to develop good sources of furniture, so that the stock for both the shop and the monthly sale will remain interesting and desirable! If you know of people who are moving house, downsizing, looking for interesting furniture or clearing out their older items, please contact the shop 01420 84809 or 07500 129 610 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We also need volunteers to help run the shop, to manage collection and delivery of furniture and to do other tasks, not all of them strenuous! Please contact us if you might be able to help.