A CHARITY shop in Wantage has given out more than £7,800 to good causes this year.

Changing Lives, in Church Street, has also donated furniture, clothes, essentials, toys and more as to people in need from January to December 2023.

The charity, which also has a second store in High, Street, Didcot was founded by Valerie Prior and provides relief for those in need by making grants and donations to individuals and organisations through the profits earned in the shop.

READ MORE: Greene King strikes go ahead over Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Most notably this year, £3,000 was used to buy a disability for a young boy and a further £2,000 was spent for another young boy who needed a specialist bike.

A total of £960 was also spent on private therapy for a young girl dealing with mental health issues as well as £300 was spent on food for a struggling family and £195 for a mobility scooter that was given to a man battling cancer.

Owen Watts, who has worked in the Wantage store for about eight years, said it is great to see the amount of the people the charity has been able to help.

“It has been really good,” he said. “We feel really good for doing it. We don’t always get gratitude or a ‘thank you’ but that is not why we do it.

“I only really get involved in grants and donations if it taking something to someone’s house but I saw the expensive disability bought for the little boy and that was really nice, probably favourite thing the store has done this year.

READ MORE: MP pays tribute to Indian takeaway owner after death

“It was also great to see the £960 for therapy as mental health is so important and I hope to do more about that next year.

“Getting to help the customers on just a shopping level as well is always really good – we just can’t wait to see it carry on as usual.”

The charity shop faced challenges earlier in the year when the Didcot premise, previously in Broadway, had to be closed due to the building being demolished after an asbestos infection.

It was unknown if the charity would be able to find a new premise and a peaceful protest was held outside the store in the hopes of finding a new premise.

A new space was found in High Street in October and the old building has since been demolished.

Mr Watts said: “There was a lot of relief when the Didcot store found a new space. There was a point of questioning whether I’d still have a job.

READ MORE: Environmental impact assessment requested for 150 new home plans

“There are pros and cons as we’ve given up a sizable building and we’ve had complaints that it is not the same but swings and roundabouts.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @geeharland