Thanks to continued generous support from the St Andrews Methodist Church community, we are currently putting the finishing touches to our new charity Emporium in Wythenshawe.

We had a conversation with the church last year about potential wider use of the spaces at St Andrews. The church had already kindly provided us with a base for a social enterprise workshop in the former Sunday School rooms, but we needed some additional retail space.

At the time, the church was not in a position to offer us the use of their large hall, so we started looking at other retail premises in the Wythenshawe area. Our search took a promising turn after we identified some suitable vacant retail premises not too far from our workshop base. Unfortunately, after a lot of preparation, we lost out to another company who submitted a better offer.

This disappointment led to a more positive conversation with Reverend Dave Warnock and the church circuit at St Andrews about using their church hall. In fairness, they rose to the challenge and an agreement was swiftly made for us to rent the hall.

Changing rooms

Since the green light, we have been busy cleaning and making improvements to the hall to make it suitable for our new charity retail space. We’ve replaced all the strip lights with LED lights, painted all the walls, cleaned and polished the floor, and erected new stud walling. We’ve built a changing room, racking for textiles within our haberdashery area and created a fantastic check-out desk from reclaimed tabletops that were destined for the skip.

A lot of people have chipped in a lot of time to help improve this space and get it ready for opening. It’s been a solid four weeks of hard work, the majority of which by local volunteers, friends and family. I would like to give special thanks to our very own volunteer Geoff, who has also been a real trooper throughout.

I would also like to give heartfelt thanks to Reverend Dave Warnock. None of this would have happened without the active and enthusiastic support of Dave. He has been absolutely instrumental in making this happen within the timescale it has. Not only has he helped with the administration side, he has also rolled up his sleeves and helped with the refurbishment work. Dave taught me how to do stud walls and has used his wealth of knowledge to guide us through much of the refurbishment work.

What to expect

For those looking forward to visiting our shop, we want this to be a little oasis filled with interesting items in every nook and cranny. The Emmaus South Manchester Emporium will be a 2,000sqft charity store containing an eclectic selection of pre-love furniture, homewares, collectables, vintage clothing, craft supplies and upcycled items.

We’ve deliberately sourced and sought good quality products – whether that’s a solid wood dining table or vintage wardrobe. We want to offer a wide range of quality second-hand, refurbished and upcycled items, whatever budget you may have.

Our Emporium will be a place to source interesting items, but we also want it to become a community hub offering experiences beyond your traditional charity shop. We have our own on-site workshops where furniture is restored and textiles are given a new lease of life. We’ll also have an on-site Community Café serving drinks, cakes and light refreshments. Our longer-term plan is to offer workshops and training so that people have the skills to reuse items and make their own bespoke products.

Get involved

We’re aiming to open the Emporium later this month but urgently need to expand our volunteer team. I am currently appealing for more people to help in our store, but also out on van as either a driver or van crew. If you or someone you know can spare a few hours each week, please view our current roles and get in touch if you’re interested.