Mary Portas Visits Chiswick

Talks to volunteers at her Living and Giving Shop on High Road


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Mary Portas started her whistle stop tour of her Mary's Living & Giving Shops with a visit to Chiswick this week (18 May).

The 'Queen of the High Street' whizzed from Primrose Hill to W4 on a Virgin Limobike and arrived in Chiswick to greet some of the volunteers in the shop and to make a call for more people to help out.

Mary's Living & Giving Shops for Save the Children were set up in 2009 and all profits go to Save The Children. There are nineteen outlets and the Chiswick one opened in February 2013.

Save The Children say that the W4 store brings in one of the highest levels of 'unrestrictive funding' for the charity. There are about thirty volunteers, ranging from retired people to students, male and female.

Alessandra from Chiswick said that she became a volunteer after starting to donate quite a lot of clothing. She was encouraged to do so by the shop manager Leah (who left recently).

"I have spent thirty years in retail and I left it three years ago to go part-time. So I had some time and started by doing one four-hour shift. Now I do one or two shifts a week. Anyone can do it, you don't need experience."

Volunteers Allesandra, Helen, Paula and Ellen outside the shop

She said the donations were very high-quality and many people visited the shop because it also stocked a lot of vintage clothing.

"It's beautifully laid out like a boutique, not like a charity shop and people like that. For some people it is a destination shop. We get a huge variety of donations and because we live locally we have a good idea how to price it up as to what Chiswick shoppers are prepared to pay."

Paula, from Germany said that she was working as an au pair in Chiswick and popped in when she saw the sign looking for volunteers.

Ellen, (17), who is an A Level Student at LEH, started volunteering while doing her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh, and is now working in the shop once a week while studying for her exams.

Save the Children is appealing for more donations from the local communities, fashion houses and local artisans, as well as for local volunteers to work in the shop. To donate stock or to enquire about volunteering or call 020 7012 6400.

May 19, 2016