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Web savvy mother is top of the swaps

PUBLISHED: 15:19 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:35 23 August 2010

AN ONLINE swap-shop set up by a mum of four is proving an instant success with parents across north Kent. Clare Knowles, of Windhover Way, Gravesend, set up the site through social networking website Facebook on March 14. She has already drawn more than

AN ONLINE swap-shop set up by a mum of four is proving an instant success with parents across north Kent.

Clare Knowles, of Windhover Way, Gravesend, set up the site through social networking website Facebook on March 14. She has already drawn more than 300 members from as far away as Margate and Erith.

Mrs Knowles, 36, explained she had the ideas after the arrival of her fourth child seven months ago. She said: "I knew some mums who were able to hand me on things, but - when I came to getting rid of it myself - I found I didn't really know anyone who needed it.

"It got me thinking about how many people must be out there wanting stuff which is just cluttering up someone else's attic."

Using the group application on Facebook, Mrs Knowles invites members to post photos of items and people can then offer to swap them or buy them.

"I am very aware of the potential for abuse so I advise everyone to meet in person rather than post items and have also advised members to not post photos with their children in them and make sure they have privacy settings sorted," she said. "I'm also keeping it to children's items only," she added.

Such has been the interest, Mrs Knowles, a dispensing optician who is currently on maternity leave, is already looking to expand the idea and set up coffee mornings to help the swaps.

"What I've found is it has created a community. Obviously with four kids I have done years of school runs and you find that mothers form small groups and don't interact. This has got mums who have stood next to each other for two years without chatting, talking to each other."

A first coffee morning is due to be organised at the scout hall in Whinfell Way, Riverview Park, Gravesend, but Mrs Knowles wants similar events to be run in other towns.

"What I need is for mums in other areas to take up and start suggesting venues as well."

To join the group, visit www.facebook.com and search for Kent Mums and Dads swop shop.

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