Valerie Prier from East Hendred is a keen volunteer who founded the charity shop Changing Lives in Wantage and Didcot in December 2012.
Valerie and her sister Vanessa used to run The Tin Hut charity shop in East Hendred. They volunteered there for five years, giving all the money earned back into the village. However, there came a time when Valerie needed to financially support her daughter. She wanted to continue doing what she loved – so she thought why not open a charity shop in Wantage, earning money and still helping the community that she is passionate about. Hence, the opening of Changing Lives.
From the proceeds of sales, the shop is able to donate money to a range of people who are referred to them either through a social worker or care worker, supporting groups such as the homeless, people suffering from domestic abuse and children with special needs.
An occasion that stands out to Valerie the most and is a huge reason why she does her job is when she helped a little girl who was unable to ride a standard bike. Changing Lives provided the funds for the girl to have an adapted bike so she could ride like her friends. It was a cause that has stuck with Valerie for a long time, because Changing Lives helped a little girl smile and pursue her dream in riding a bike – a basic but vital dream that some people cannot achieve without support. Changing Lives strive to help anyone they can, like this little girl, to live a happier life.
How to Shop at Changing Lives
The shop is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. It is located on Church Street, up a gravel drive between Arbery Arcade and the funeral directors. You can also join the Changing Lives Didcot & Wantage facebook group to enquire about items you need.
How You Can Help
Donations are always welcomed with a smile during opening hours. Whether it be a book or a table, a lamp or a sofa, Valerie is happy to receive.
Changing Lives is always looking for volunteers to help out around the shop – whether that be behind the till or helping to get all the donations into the shop. If you know of anyone who would like to help out, or maybe you do after reading this, then please contact Changing Lives at 01235 762186.
Valerie and the team are hardworking and kind people who would love to see more volunteers getting involved in helping Changing Lives progress.
Above photo: Valerie and assistant Irwin by Eda Onay