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Gravesend parents form community based around "swop shop"

PUBLISHED: 14:40 05 January 2011

Swap shop creator Clare Knowles

Swap shop creator Clare Knowles

Archant

A creator of an online swop shop phenomenon that has gathered more than 5,000 members is using her contacts to create a community dedicated to supporting charity.

Mother-of-four Clare Knowles, 37, of Windhover Way, Gravesend, set up Kent Mums and Dads swop shop as a way to exchange her children’s unwanted toys and equipment in March last year and was immediately overwhelmed with the response.

New groups have sprung up in Medway and her hopes to expand towards London this year are still alive. The organisation works through events set up to allow parents to exchange unwanted items and Mrs Knowles has now begun to use these to also collect for charity.

She said: “It has been a whirlwind year. When I set it up I didn’t expect to generate this sort of interest, It has just exploded.”

“At the end of last year we held three events and raised for MacMillan Cancer, held a fashion show for Leukaemia Research and did a Wear it Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, raising more than £2,000 for the three charities.

“A real community has sprung up and people have made some genuine friends through it so it has been so rewarding. I hope to build on this throughout the new year.”

Negotiations are in place with a number of large-scale organisations, including ASDA, to arrange events in the New Year, and a first meet to exchange items made redundant by Christmas gifts will be held at the Red Cross Centre, Pelham Road on January 22.

For more details about how to get involved visit www.madcafe.co.uk

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