Meet fundraising mum who runs 'free shop' offering 'everything' for people struggling to pay bills

  • Sarah Saunders has been speaking to Maya Amangeldiyeva about the free shop she runs in Kent.

A mum opened a 'free shop' offering everything for people who are struggling to pay their bills, after turning to a food bank to feed her own children.

Maya Amangeldiyeva has been named a finalist for ITV Meridian's Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the year for her efforts in helping the local community in Herne Bay in Kent.

Maya, who moved to England from Turkmenistan 15 years ago understands what it feels like to fall on hard times.

After being forced to use a food bank for her own family, it inspired her to help others, but not just with food.

May set up a huge network of community support, now running a shop where literally everything is free, in one of the most deprived wards in Kent.

Maya's community shop offers a cafe where people can have a hot drink and a meal for free. Credit: ITV Meridian

"We have clothing bank, mobility bank, electrical bank, you name it we have everything people possibly need to have some money left and pay their rent", Maya said.

"I do it for people, because it's needed there."

The free shop offers a wealth of services, as well as food and clothing, people can also have a hot drink and a meal at the cafe and use the wifi for free.

There's a shower and washing machine for use by homeless people, and even a hairdresser.

Maya has raised around £60,000 over the last year.

The free shop even offers a hairdressing service for those in need. Credit: ITV Meridian

Maya added: "Every day is different, we never know what problem will come through the door but people coming they know they going get help.

"The main thing I am trying to achieve for no one feel lonely in our problems, in Herne Bay in our town they know there is someone who will care for them.

"Its support, its love, I say thank you for donating love.

"To remove the stigma and remove acceptance policy so people don't struggle on their own."

People who are homeless can take a free shower at the community shop. Credit: ITV Meridian

The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards celebrates the unsung heroes who go above and beyond to make their communities and the country a better place.

Nominated by the public, the winners come from all walks of life, of all ages, and from all over the country.

They will come together with stars from television for a glittering ceremony in London, broadcast on ITV.

Among them will be two winners from the Meridian region, picked from a shortlist of inspiring nominees.

Each day this week – on our 6pm programme and online – we'll showcase those who are in the running. The winner will be revealed on Friday's programme.

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