06:00 6 November 2022
A city center charity shop that supports refugees has reopened with a new look after being on the verge of closing earlier this year.
The Vintage Emporium in Castle Street welcomed customers on Saturday after being closed for more than a month.
The shop sells vintage clothing, vinyl records and bags, with proceeds going to the UK charity Refugease which provides humanitarian aid.
Anu Bhujel, Retail Operations Manager at Vintage Emporium, said: “We were closed for about six weeks as donations weren’t coming in and we weren’t making enough money to help the cause.
“We have now redesigned the store to make it more open and welcoming so people can enter and navigate easily.
“Brightening up the store with lights also helps.
“There were a lot of people inside the store. Vintage clothing is very popular with many people who are keen on recycling, reusing and saving money.”
Volunteer Richard Baldwin added, “A lot of people realize that fast fashion isn’t the answer.”
Vintage Emporium and Refugease supports refugees in different countries and helps deliver food parcels to those in need.
The charity also supported evacuations from Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
And the Castle Street store is helping raise funds to build an education center in Jordan that will teach English to local children.
This will cost around £3,000 a month according to Miss Bhujel.
“Hopefully one day all this money will fund the school from this store in Norwich,” the retail operations manager added.
There are a total of six Vintage Emporium Refugease stores across the country – three of which are clothing stores and three furniture stores.
Norwich store manager Anna, who did not wish to reveal her surname, said: “It has been a fantastic first morning back. There has been a lovely response and feedback.
“A lady told me she was more concerned about the cause than anything else.
“We have a lot more space here now.”
The Castle Street shop is open 10am-5.30pm Thursday-Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday.
Visit refugease.org for more information about the charity.