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Clothing sale huge success for charity, bargain hunters

Emily Burton and Aimee Brady.
Emily Burton and Aimee Brady. Rob Williams

HOW many items of clothing does it take to hire a new community counsellor?

It might seem like a joke question, but if you ask Colin Hannigan, manager of Lifeline Ipswich, he will say that is exactly what happened at the charity's clothing sale.

"Over the course of two days the Ipswich community, and people from surrounding areas, came down to the Ipswich Showgrounds, and they have bought enough to allow us to hire an extra counsellor," Mr Hannigan said.

"This was an unparalleled increase in attendance, we were up 77% in our attendance over 2015, and we want to say thanks to everyone who supported us, and let them know we will be supporting Ipswich."

Mr Hannigan said the weekend was the culmination of many weeks of preparation, and he was 'especially grateful' to the volunteers who made the sale possible.

"This was a situation where everyone had been putting in above and beyond what could be asked of them, yet they did it, and then during the sale, it just kept happening, right down to the CODI volunteers who did the sausage sizzle outside."

As well as the regular Lifeline volunteers, Mr Hannigan said many people volunteered for the weekend.

"It was amazing to see all these people come down to help out, there was a real community spirit. I saw two teenage girls who gave up their weekend just to count items of clothing as people came to the checkouts, but there were so many people doing the same thing, I am grateful to every one of them for helping us."

 

With Christmas approaching, Mr Hannigan said the sale was timed to take the pressure off families.

"If they can update their wardrobes for not much money, then that is good."

The sale also saw turnover increase at existing Lifeline shops, a trend Mr Hannigan is keen to see continue.

"People saw the quality of what we are selling, and by Sunday our stores were reporting an increase in visitors, driven by the sale."

While the sale was a 'massive success', Mr Hannigan said there were lessons to be learned for the next event.

"We were victims of our own success, we were not expecting that many people, so we will fix that for next time.

"But after the success of Bookfest a couple of months ago, now this, we are thrilled at the community support."



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