Charity superstore may tempt shoppers

The idea of putting in a charity superstore at Greenbridge demonstrates how much ordinary retailers have been struggling recently.

I don't think it is just a result of the Covid pandemic. We had plenty of empty shops on the retail parks and in the town centre well before that came along. But I'm sure the lockdowns and people's need to isolate speeded up the move to online shopping for a lot of us.

I have had to isolate more than once and after I recovered from a bout of Covid I felt very uncomfortable going to places like supermarkets. I've got into the habit of now having deliveries for my weekly grocery shop and I order things online from Amazon or shops with online stores. It's easier and I don't have to spend money on fuel or parking.

That said, I do miss a good rummage around a charity shop.

While I'm sure Cancer Research won't be paying anywhere near what a large chain would in rent, I think it could bring people back to Greenbridge.

With more space it can sell a much wider range of goods and no doubt some of the stock will be new unsold items from mainstream retailers, as happens elsewhere.

And there's always the knowledge that the money will be going to a good cause and helping to reduce waste by recycling goods. As long as the prices are good it might tempt me to visit.

Ruth King

North Swindon

Free transport for young care leavers

At Barnardo’s, we know from our direct experience of supporting young people leaving the care system across the South that one of the greatest challenges they face at the moment is the high cost of transport.

There are currently over 80,000 children in care in England and every year over 10,000 of them leave the system - and are expected to live more or less independently.

Living on your own can be difficult without the support of friends and family nearby, which is the reality for many of these young people. From our rural areas to our large towns and cities, it can be even harder to get around the region if you are struggling to make ends meet.

That’s why Barnardo’s has launched its new Transport For Freedom campaign, calling on the Government to support and fund free bus travel for care experienced young people up to the age of 25 in England.

Extending free bus travel is a simple thing the Government can do as part of its ‘levelling up’ agenda and would make a big difference to young people who have had a tough start in life and need a bit of extra help.

Older and disabled people are already entitled to free bus travel through the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. Given the clear benefits that providing free bus travel could have for care leavers including improving access to employment, services and reducing loneliness and isolation we believe there is a strong case for investment in a national scheme for care leavers.

We are delighted to have the support of Stagecoach for our campaign. We know there is support throughout the bus and transport industry which is why we are also urging the public to sign the Barnardo’s petition at

Lynn Perry MBE

CEO of Barnardo’s

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