A new charity shop to help struggling young families in Barnet opened in a blaze of colour.
Home-Start Barnet, which helps young families with whatever life throws at them, officially opened its first ever charity shop in Church Hill Road in East Barnet on Saturday.
Councillors Andrea and Joanna Tamborides cut the ribbon, joined by Deputy Lieutenant of Barnet Martin Russell, who is patron of the charity.
Around 20 people packed into the shop on its opening day.
Director of Home-Start Julia Roberts said: “This is our first venture into charity retail and it will help raise money for the families we support. We underwent a 30 per cent reduction in the funding we received from Barnet Council and we had to find other ways to generate revenue.
“We help families with their problems so they do not need to seek intervention from social services, thereby saving the council a lot of money. ”
The charity’s volunteers give emotional and practical support to any family with a child under five that is going through a difficult time. Last year, their army of 200 volunteers supported 400 families with 750 children.
Chief executive Kirpal Dhadda said she was very impressed at the number of people who had come out to support the launch.
She said: “As well as selling things here, we will be using the venue to train volunteers, which is a unique thing. We have received lots of support from John Lewis in designing the shop, we didn’t want it to look like a typical charity shop.”
Mr Russell praised Mrs Dhadda's "inspired leadership for making the shop possible. He said: “The charity does most of its work in Graham Park and other parts of Barnet so having a shop here will raise its profile in East Barnet. This is a village community and I’m sure the shop will become an important part of it.
Cllrs Tamborides said: “Home-Start and its work in Barnet is very important. The shop is bright and attractive and I was impressed by the number of people who came to support it. We wish it every success for the future.”
Customer Elsie Davies said: “I was asked to support the charity shop by a friend who volunteers for Home-Start and I’m very glad I did. It’s very bright and modern, and the people who work here are lovely, I’m sure it will be well used by the community.”