Inspirational Project Brings Swap Shop To Eastleigh

InspireMeYoung people from Mencap’s Inspire Me project will be running an innovative fund-raising idea in Eastleigh this weekend, at the Holy Cross Church in Leigh Road Eastleigh.

Their Swap Shop runs from 10:30 until 12:30 on Saturday 13th July, the innovation being that the proceeds, from a small admission fee of £3 and the profit on any refreshments that are sold, will be given to Breast Cancer UK, rather than to Mencap.

The unusual situation of a charity raising money for a different charity arises because of the purpose of the Inspire Me project, which is designed to give young people with learning disabilities aged 14-25 the chance to explore new opportunities and learn new skills. One of the ways this is done is through Community Impact Projects, which are opportunities for young people to make a difference and experience volunteering.

These projects can be a whole range of different activities, there is no given formula. It is down to the young people to decide what they would like to do with the support of the Inspire Me team and their school,college or local group.

This develops skills by giving the young people leadership of the project and the opportunity to do something that is important to them.

Sally Cochrane, the Regional Youth Co-ordinator for Mencap’s Inspire Me project in the South East told Eastleigh News;

“A group of young people have been working on a Community Impact Project as part of a project called Inspire Me, set up by Mencap and ENABLE Scotland, to support 25,000 young people with a learning disability aged 14-25 across the UK.”

“Inspire Me is funded by The Co-operative Charity of the Year partnership, which has raised over £7 million for young people with a learning disability.”

“As part of this we deliver workshops,  which are aimed at building the skills needed for transition, and we also facilitate Community Impact Projects. It is the latter which this particular group of young people from Eastleigh Borough & Romsey (EBR) Mencap is doing.”

“A Community Impact Project is youth-led in which they identify an area of the community they wish to positively impact upon. After group discussion and voting, the group decided that they wanted to put on a swap shop to raise money for Breast Cancer UK.  A member of the group has a personal connection.”

“The reason money can be raised for another charity is that the purpose of the Community Impact Projects is not to fundraise [for Mencap], however the young people invariably decide that is what they would like to do and the beneficiary is up to them.”

“The Community Impact Projects are brilliant for allowing the young people to develop new skills, see an idea come into fruition and also to demonstrate to the community what they are capable of.”

“The group have worked extremely hard on this and have been hands on and proactive every step of the way.”

With the young people of EBR Mencap getting a lot out of running this project, with Breast Cancer UK benefiting from the proceeds and with visitors able to swap their nearly new goods for other nearly new goods, thus avoiding the complications of advertising them on ebay or in the classified ads, this is one of of those rare projects: a genius idea where everybody seems to win.

If you would like to find out more about Inspire Me or refer a young person contact Sally Cochrane South East Youth Coordinator, at or alternatively call 07432 694461.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site.