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Edventure students help relaunch SHARE shop

A team of students from Edventure, a school for community enterprise Frome, have been working to expand the ‘SHARE’  shop’s impact and build upon its previous successes.

Amongst a variety of developments, a new initiative has been launched, in partnership with local charities Fair Frome and YMCA. The scheme will provide free membership to Share for people who are experiencing financial difficulties. Share, a library of things in the centre of town, is crowdfunding to support this initiative.

The new scheme is launching at a key time as households with the lowest incomes are being hit hardest by rising inflation and the 6-week delay in receiving Universal Credit payments. The think tank, the Resolution Foundation, predicts that 7 million children and 800,000 people seeking work will be up to £300 worse off next year. In Frome, as there is a younger population than Somerset as a whole and a higher proportion of residents claiming benefits, there is a particular need for support.

Share – a library of things – is a place where its 800+ members can borrow a large variety of items, including DIY and gardening tools, household and camping equipment, and many more items such as hedge-trimmers, carpet cleaners, and toys.

It was founded in 2015 by Edventure and Frome Town Council to tackle the ‘throwaway society’ and to help local residents save money. Building on the successes of the Share team, a group of Edventure students have been working closely with the shop managers, Aliss and Helen, to make an even bigger social impact in Frome.

People who visit the shop will notice a number of changes, including a redesign of the layout, a new website, and the introduction of a new volunteer programme aimed at providing positive and useful work experience. However, a major change is the introduction of initially 150 free memberships to be gifted to people who would not normally have access to Share’s +1000 items.

The new initiative is expected to launch in December and will save people money at a crucial time, as well as tackling the ‘throwaway society’ mindset by encouraging borrowing rather than buying.

People who receive the free memberships will be referred from partner organisations such as Fair Frome, YMCA, and the Job Centre, and they will receive a free year of membership worth £36, on top of £60 of borrowing credit to spend on any items they may need. Having access to some items for free, such as blow up mattresses, cooking equipment, as well as toys and games for their children, offers a much cheaper alternative than buying.

Victoria Gale, a coordinator at Fair Frome, has said that these memberships would be particularly useful for those who cannot afford toys for their children. “Every parent knows that children get bored of toys, and for there to be access to a different variety of toys, so that you can go and borrow some things on the weekend, or if you have children coming to stay, would be really useful,” she said.

To find out more about the developments with the Share shop, visit www.share frome.org. Readers can also support Share’s crowdfunding campaign to enable people in financial difficulties access things they need on www.crowdfunder.co.uk.

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