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Charity shop brings people together

"I like to keep busy and be active - and lifting bags of donations around and sorting them out is good exercise!

"Business has slowed for the whole high street since the bypass road was built as not so many people drive past now but we still have a steady stream of customers."

– Joyce Hughes, volunteer

"I've lived in the area all my life and the community has changed - there isn't the sense of togetherness there used to be. That's why initiatives like this shop and other things the church runs, such as coffee mornings and our new knitting group, are more important than ever as they bring people together.

"People on their own can pop in for a chat and have somewhere to go. I am very glad I am still able to help out."

– Margaret Wiltshire, volunteer

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Volunteering duo's decade in business

Volunteers at shop
Father Paul Bigmore with Margaret Wiltshire (left) and Joyce Hughes (right) at the shop Credit: Church in Wales

Volunteering duo, Joyce Hughes and Margaret Wiltshire are celebrating a decade in business. The 88-year-olds have been running the St Anne's Church shop in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley since it was set up ten years ago.

The charity shop is the only store in the village and this week, celebrations will be held to mark its success with a service of rededication led by the vicar of Ynyshir, Father Paul Bigmore.

Volunteers in shop
Father Paul Bigmore with all the volunteers Credit: Church in Wales

Welsh Assembly called on to reject changes to charity shop business rates

The Charity Retail Association says a third of charity shops could close if proposals come into force. Credit: ITV Wales News

The Charity Retail Association will hand a petition to the Welsh Assembly later calling on it to reject proposals that would see business rate relief for charity shops restricted.

At the moment Welsh charities can enjoy relief of 80 per cent, this could be reduced to 50 per cent for some shops. The Welsh Government closed its public consultation on the issue last month.

In November the association warned the changes could force the closure of a third of charity shops in Wales.

The petition will be presented to William Powell, who is the chair of the National Assembly's Petitions Committee, on the steps of the Senedd.

It reads: "Charity shops make a vital contribution to raising income for a huge range of good causes in Wales. 100 per cent of their profits go to charity, raising over £12 million every year in Wales."

The Charity Retail Association claims that if these proposals go ahead there will be more empty shops on Welsh high streets, 700 full time jobs will be under threat along with 9,000 volunteering opportunities offered by charity shops in Wales.

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Vicar's 700 mile charity tractor journey

Tractor and men of the church
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, takes a turn behind the wheel Credit: The Church in Wales/ITV News Wales

A vicar from Mid Wales is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity after driving a tractor to every cathedral in Wales.

Rev Richard Kirlew made the trip to raise awareness of struggling rural communities, and was encouraging donations to charities and organisations that support farmers.

His journey, which began last Monday, took in St Davids, Bangor, St Asaph, Newport and Llandaff, ending up in Brecon.

Accompanied by his wife, the couple slept in a caravan towed by the JCB. Their maximum speed was 40mph, but Rev Kirlew said fellow drivers were extremely patient on all the roads.

"We’ve pulled in regularly to let faster drivers pass and lorries have flashed their lights in a supportive way!" he said.

"The main aim has been to raise awareness of the problems facing rural communities in Wales – there’s a perception everyone living in the countryside is rich but poverty, declining village life and isolation are real issues which are getting worse.”

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