Leeds’ Scope Charity Shop is Open

Scope’s new, accessible charity shop in Leeds City Centre opened on 29 May. The disability equality charity is supported by Learning Disability Ambassadors Declan Jenkinson, Captain of Leeds Rhinos LDSL team and Jenny Robinson, Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair Player, along with ex-Paralympian Ayaz Bhuta.

Declan, Jenny and Ayaz officially opened the shop, located at 15 Kirkgate, with a new look interior design and accessibility being key to the layout. The entrance is step-free and the aisles are wider than most traditional shops, to allow for easy manoeuvring for wheelchair and mobility scooter users and parents with pushchairs and prams.

The till area is lowered for easy reach and the double changing room, which is fitted with a seat and handrails for safety, can be adjusted to fit a power wheelchair and carer. The back of house is also accessible for disabled colleagues and volunteers to work in or make refreshments

Changing room

The shop has a relaxing atmosphere, with a vintage, industrial look with fixtures with white exposed brick walls. There’s also a Community Corner with comfortable seating and a chalk board, to invite the community to share their views on disability equality.

The shop offers their new collections, Scope Vintage and Selected by Scope, a range of brand-new items from leading high street labels, alongside a stunning range of pre-loved donations and beautiful gifts from the charity’s Disabled Artists Collection. Scope has collaborated with Lighthouse School,  who support autistic students, to create an installation for the community corner wall.  Scope has also collaborated with Lighthouse Futures Trust, who support young neurodivergent people, by offering volunteering opportunities to their students, giving them vital work experience.

Installation by Lighthouse School pupils

Charity shops have become a national institution and the opening comes as Scope research shows people really do love donating to charity shops rather than selling online. An overwhelming two in three (66%) people in Leeds prefer to donate their items after a clear-out to a charity shop compared to just one in four (27%) who prefer to sell their items on resale apps. [1]Seven in eight (87%) say donating to charity shops makes them feel good. A further two in three (66%) donate to charity shops because they love the space they get back. Five in six (84%) of people agreed they believe their donation to a charity shop will fund something important and it’s as good as giving money to charity.     

Ruth Blazye, Executive Director, Retail and Communities at disability equality charity Scope: “We were so excited Declan, Jenny and Ayaz helped us open our new shop on Kirkgate. I would also like to thank our wonderful landlord, Phil Harrison, who has been so supportive, going the extra mile to help us as we prepared the shop for opening. We think this is a fantastic location in an exciting community and we can’t wait to serve our new customers.

I hope the community enjoys the accessibility of this shop. We’ve designed it to give everyone a wonderful and relaxing shopping experience. There’s even a comfortable seat in our Community Corner for people to sit down if they need a break from shopping. They’ll find our rails are full of stylish, vintage and brand-new high-street ranges; quality, pre-loved outfits at affordable prices.

We’re very proud of our collaborations with two amazing, local organisations who are dedicated to supporting people with neurodiverse conditions to learn and thrive. Students from Lighthouse School have created a stunning installation that will be permanently on our wall and it’s a testament to their incredible talent. Students from Lighthouse Futures Trust will be volunteering with us to gain vital work experience, skills and confidence to move into paid employment.

Without the support from our fantastic volunteers we couldn’t run our shops. If you have a few hours to spare and want to get out of the house, are looking to enhance your CV or need to complete your Duke of Edinburgh award, volunteering offers so many incredible opportunities at hours suitable to you and we’d love you to come in for a chat.

We’d also love you to drop off your pre-loved donations you no longer want. We’ll ensure they go to a new home to be loved once again. The charity’s services have never been needed more than during the cost-of-living crisis and every donation helps us to raise vital funds for Scope to support disabled people and their families.”

Declan Jenkinson, Captain of Leeds Rhinos LDSL team and Learning Disability Ambassador: “When I saw the shop from the outside, I thought it was breathtaking and it was even better when I stepped inside. It has a very friendly atmosphere, the accessibility is incredible and it’s full of brilliant things to find on the rails. Scope have really thought of everything to make this a place where disabled people can feel welcomed and can enjoy their shopping experience. I am a firm believer in diversity and equality and this new shop has really bought that to Leeds.

Jenny Robinson, Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair Player and Learning Disability Ambassador: “I consider myself a charity shop guru. I absolutely love them on the whole. But, sometimes I can’t move my wheelchair around easily or even have to wait outside for my partner or mother whilst they shop. Today, I experienced something very different. Being at the new Scope charity shop on Kirkgate was fantastic, I had no accessibility issues and I can’t wait to come back.  I was so inspired by the shop I was the first person to contribute to their Community Board.”

Phil Harrison, Escape Bars: “I was very excited to hear that Scope had chosen one of my units on Kirkgate for their first charity shop in the City Centre. The designs they showed me were absolutely stunning. I’ve been very impressed by the work they’re doing in our community, too – supporting disabled students with volunteering opportunities and giving pupils the opportunity to create a wonderful installation of Leeds landmarks. I think it’s a brilliant, permanent feature for the shop. It’s been a pleasure to help the team get the shop ready, giving support where I could. Leeds is such a vibrant City and I really think the new Scope charity shop will be a huge asset for everyone to enjoy.”

Scope charity shop is at 15 Kirkgate, Leeds LS1 6BY

Main image: Scope charity shop Leeds team with Ayaz Bhuta, Jenny Robinson and Declan Jenkinson.

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