Exmouth charity’s success in bringing mental health to the high street

Mental health-aware, fashion-forward and environmentally-friendly is how an Exmouth charity shop credits its success two months after opening.

Pete’s Dragons opened its first-ever charity shop, Retail Therapy, in May, with a unique selling point of bringing mental health to the high street.

Inside Retail Therapy; Pete’s Dragons opened its first-ever charity shop in Exmouth in May 2019.
Photo: EastDevonNews.co.uk

Shoppers browsing in the Rolle Street outlet have been bagging bargains but also learning more about mental health maintenance and wellbeing, and how to help others who may be suffering in silence.

The charity shop’s retail therapy extends to its own dedicated section within the store; Pete’s Dragons said the wellbeing products on sale have been well received.

Retail Therapy sells trusted products and tools used at Pete’s Dragons to help its beneficiaries; the shop’s unique wellness section shares the charity’s knowledge with the local community.

Alison Jordan, Pete’s Dragons founder and charity CEO, said: “People have been so supportive, with beautiful donations, and coming in to look and buy.

“The wellbeing section has really taken off; people are realising it’s there and are realising they can learn about their wellbeing and mental health maintenance in the shop.

“If you know someone, or you yourself are feeling that way, to know that you can go somewhere and buy books or products that may help you – it’s priceless.”

The shop’s success means Pete’s Dragons is generating a regular income, all which is ploughed straight back into the charity, supporting suicide bereaved families and funding suicide prevention training throughout Devon.

“It’s providing a regular sum of income that’s generated by us,” said Alison. “As wonderful as grants and fundraising is, the sums go up and down.  To be able to generate a stable income will relieve pressure.

“We’ve been really busy; it’s increasing week on week. People are realising that we have a shop and we also have quality items.

“What makes us different is we wash all the items so they are ready to wear as soon as they leave the shop.

“A lot of people don’t realise we can take ripped or stained clothing; we can stop them going to landfill and generate an income selling them to the rag trade.”

The charity shop is always keen to recruit volunteers with a few hours to spare, or those looking for return to work experience. Good quality donations are welcome.

Alison said Retail Therapy is regulated, so shoppers can have confidence funds raised through the shop are used according to rules set out by the Charity Retail Association.

To volunteer, email hq@petesdragons.org.uk

Follow Retail Therapy on Facebook to bag an early bargain.

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