Europa’s Thift Shop, which closed its doors for the last time earlier this year, has donated the last of monies raised to five charities.
A final amount of £4500 has been divided between five charities: Red Cross Gibraltar, Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park, Childline Gibraltar, Gibraltar Alzheimers and Dementia Society and the RAF 100 Appeal, all of which were overwhelmed by the amount donated.
This is an amazing legacy for the Thrift Shop to leave and whilst edged with sadness because of its closure, it closes out on a high note.
In July 2018, the Europa Thrift Shop in Gibraltar closed, marking the end of an era that started over 30 years ago. It opened initially on the RAF base at Gibraltar’s North Front, but has since moved location several times.
Eventually settling in the South District and evolving into what became a very special and much loved part of both the military and local communities’ lives. With the imminent move of the Forces families from Europa to Four Corners, unfortunately it had to close.
Selling a whole range of second hand goods including clothing, shoes, toys, household goods, handbags and books it was a place for people to easily recycle their unwanted items, make a little pocket money and get themselves a bargain at the same time.
Generations of the same families have shopped there over time and often reminisced about bringing not only their children into the shop but also many years later their grandchildren too! This lifelong support from the local people married beautifully with the many new faces that arrived through the constant cycle of military family life, continuously fostering that spirit of community along the way.
Not everyone was aware that solely a small team of volunteers, mostly made up of military spouses from both the Europa and Four Corners estates, ran the Thrift Shop.
It wasn’t just a place to shop or volunteer but was a social hub too, always ready to welcome people for a chat and a cup of tea, whether they were new to the Rock or just in need of a little company. Its longevity and success was testament to all of those who volunteered over the years and gave up their own time to keep the Thrift Shop doors open.
With its great success, the Thrift Shop was able to make regular donations from the charity sales it made.
Thanks to the support and generosity of its loyal customer base, in the last eight years alone, it had donated over £20,000 to many deserving causes which was a massive achievement and one we should all be proud of.
Where possible, it also worked in conjunction with local and military charities to raise extra funds, and this year helped both the SSAFA Armed Forces Charity and Lions Club International Gibraltar.
The items that did not sell were still put to good use, especially clothing and toys which were regularly donated to those that could benefit such as the Woman’s Refuge in Gibraltar and several orphanages in Tangier. All in all, the Thrift Shop was a fantastic enterprise and it will be sadly missed by many.
It is fitting therefore that in its final year, the Thrift Shop was most lucrative in terms of charity monies raised.
Maybe one day the Thrift Shop will be revived, once the military community has settled at Four Corners, but for now we bid it a very fond farewell and say thank you for the memories.