A South Tyneside charity which helps more than 100 children with additional needs and their families each week has opened its first fundraising shop.
Waves, based at Bilton Hall community centre in Low Simonside, South Shields, has launched a store at its premises selling clothes, C.D’s and books, to raise funds so it can continue to make a difference.
Set up in 2017, the group aims to support children and young people up to the age of 25 with additional needs - including autism, learning difficulties and other disabilities.
It also aims to provide a place where the youngsters and their siblings can take part in activities and where their families can receive support, advice and guidance.
The shop called Waves Hidden Treasures, was opened following the success of its online selling page and now means charity shoppers now have the chance to browse the items they see online in person.
Rachel Moreton who is charity treasurer, said funds raised will go towards the likes of day trips, therapists and transport.
She said: “We have more than 400 members and on a weekly basis help 150 members and their families.
“When we formed Waves I was running a selling page on Facebook from home and was asking friends and family for donations to sell which helped pay for second hand equipment like bikes for the children.
“I didn’t expect it to get as big as it did and it got to the point where we had that many donations we needed a place for them to be based at.
“So we have decided to open a proper shop at our base which will be open six days a week from Monday to Saturday.”
The shop, which was officially opened by charity patron, Ray Spencer MBE, executive director of The Customs House in South Shields, is now open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and 12.30pm to 3.30pm on a Saturday.
It is run entirely by Waves volunteers, many of whom are full time carers for their own relatives.
Rachel added: “There is such a demand for what we do and the funds raised from the shop will go towards funding the likes of day trips and activities such as yoga, martial arts and things like transport and therapists.
“I would urge people to come along to support a local charity as it’s vital to what we do and it puts money back into the community.”