The tragic inspiration behind new city shop

This is what an aid delivery looks like, provided by the ever growing charity RefugEase

This is what an aid delivery looks like, provided by the ever growing charity RefugEase, who have opened a new shop in the centre of Norwich. - Credit: RefugEase

Vintage Emporium in Castle Street is already doing a roaring trade. 

But many shoppers probably don't know the tragic inspiration behind the charity that runs it.

The shop was created by a small but rapidly growing charity called RefugEase.  

The charity aims to help refugees in the UK and abroad after being launched six years ago.  

It was founded when Valentina Osborn saw the horrific photo of Alan Kurdi – a three-year old Syrian boy who drowned as his family were trying to reach Europe.  

The Norwich shop aims to sell donated items that are not suitable for being sent abroad. 

The Norwich shop aims to sell donated items that are not suitable for being sent abroad. - Credit: RefugEase

Valentina set up a Facebook group to help and thousands of people donated items to sell. 

Hannah Jacobson who works as the marketing and campaigns manager at the charity said: “As a charity, our main focuses are providing humanitarian aid to displaced persons, education and empowerment projects for refugees and crisis awareness.  

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“We send regular lorry loads of aid abroad to places such as France, Greece, Hungary, and even further-flung destinations with big refugee populations such as Lebanon and Jordan.” 

RefugEase aims to help refugees in the UK and abroad. 

RefugEase aims to help refugees in the UK and abroad. - Credit: RefugEase

In 2020, RufugEase opened its first ‘Vintage Emporium’ in Tonbridge, Kent.  

“The public are always so generous with their aid donations, but we sometimes receive items which aren't suitable for sending abroad, such as formal clothing or homeware," Valentina added.  

"I've always been environmentally conscious and hate wasting good items, so that’s how the idea came to me, we could open a shop to sell on the items which can’t be sent abroad as aid, to fund further projects for refugees.  

“When we saw a unit come up in Norwich, we were really excited.  

“It’s a city we’ve had our eye on for a while, I just knew that the fashion-conscious, eco-friendly people would love to support our cause." 
 

This is a food and hygiene parcel that was sent to Turkey by the charity that now has a shop in the centre of Norwich. 

This is a food and hygiene parcel that was sent to Turkey by the charity that now has a shop in the centre of Norwich. - Credit: RefugEase

He added: “The reception we’ve had in Norwich so far in just a few weeks has been amazing, we knew we’d made the right choice 

The Vintage Emporium in Norwich is open every day 10am-5.30pm (and until 4pm on Sundays) and is located in Castle Street.  

The charity sends, food, clothes and other aid to refugees who need help. 

The charity sends, food, clothes and other aid to refugees who need help. - Credit: RefugEase


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