New shop to help community groups

a CHARITY shop is opening up in Kimberley to raise money for cash-strapped community groups.

Robert Sears-Piccavey is opening Community Chest in Main Street tomorrow, April 23, to help community groups that have either fallen victim to Nottinghamshire County Council budget cuts or who are simply struggling in today’s tough economic climate.

Mr Sears-Piccavey said: “All small community groups are struggling and I thought to myself ‘this is ridiculous’.

“It’s a fact of life that groups are finding it difficult because of the cutbacks.

“All communities are feeling the pain as funds have either reduced or disappeared altogether.”

The 62-year-old will sell all the usual charity shop items, and community groups will then apply to the shop for funding.

Mr Sears-Piccavey is a councillor in Selston and said he was inspired to launch Community Chest after realising not only how hard it was to get funding, but also how hard it was to apply for small amounts of funding.

He applied to The Lottery Heritage Fund for a £200 grant for Underwood Community Action, but was turned down because the amount was ‘not high enough’ and they had to offer a minimum of £3,000.

“I know as a councillor how difficult it is to get funding – even just a couple of hundred quid,” he said.

“It sounds ridiculous but it’s actually harder to get the small amounts.”

Mr Sears-Piccavey, who lives in Underwood, has been working on doing his shop up throughout April and getting donations off friends to sell in the first few weeks while everything gets going.

The charity shop is opening this Saturday at 9am and will be open Mondays to Saturdays.

Mr Sears-Piccavey, who said he opened up in Kimberley to avoid any links to his political work in Selston, is now looking for donations of clothes, bric-a-brac and small electrical items.

People can call into the shop or he will collect items from people’s houses.

He is also looking for volunteers and a shop manager.

Call him on 07889 085364 or email rscommunitychest@gmail.com.